As students are wrapping up the school year, parents everywhere are wondering how to keep the kids reading over the summer. Fortunately bookstores and libraries are rolling out their summer reading programs, which often feature a nice reward for those who read a certain amount of books over the summer. A little external motivation never hurts, right? Here’s the skinny on different reading programs.

Barnes & Noble

The 2010 Barnes & Noble Passport to Summer Reading with The 39 Clues provides children with fun activities, as well as a chance to earn a free book. Download the Parent Kit (PDF) for four activities centered around The 39 Clues book series. Activities include writing, cracking codes, and solving puzzles.

If your child reads 8 books this summer, he can turn in his reading log and exchange it for a free book (from a list of pre-approved books). He’ll also be entered in a sweepstake for an entire signed set of 39 Clues books! The Barnes & Noble Passport to Summer Reading program is open to kids in grades 1-6, and the program ends on September 7, 2010.


This summer borders is issuing a double-dog dare. They’re daring your children to read 10 books this summer. If they do, they’ll be eligible to trade their reading log for a free book (from a list of pre-approved books) at Borders, Borders Express, or Waldenbooks.

Students must be twelve or under and the program ends on August 26, 2010 at the end of store hours. You can download the reading log here (PDF).

Public Libraries

When I searched Google for “summer reading program,” Google came up with pages of programs for me to browse, most of them from public library systems. I obviously can’t write about every one of them in one blog post, so make sure to check with your local library to see what they offer. Chances are they have some type of summer reading program for your kids.

My local library has a program for children and a separate program for teens. The children’s program is broken into two groups: infants & toddlers, and children aged 3 and up. By reading 10 books (or listening to the parent read them), kids can earn bookmarks, certificates to Hometown Buffet, stickers for their library cards, a pass to KidTime Discovery Center, a ticket to a Portland Trailblazers game, and a chance to enter library drawings.

Teens need to write a short review of a book, CD, library program, or DVD for a chance to be entered in a drawing for an iPod Nano. Reviews might even be posted on the library website!

Our local library program begins when school lets out and ends on August 14, 2010.

Make Your Own Program

If you’re having a really hard time motivating your kids to read this summer, make your own incentive program. After all, nobody knows your children like you do. Decide how many books you’d like your children to read, and reward them when they do it. The reward can be anything meaningful to the child: a book, a family outing, an ice cream sundae, or whatever motivates your child.

However you motivate your kids, make sure they keep reading through the summer!

Photo by KOMUnews.