Summer Reading Programs for Kids

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.


By , on May 26, 2010
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. piece of funichur:

    mom of 2 @ 3 @ 6 of wat retard

  2. many:

    were is the download retards

  3. Beck:

    I love these posts. Every year my kids do these contests and they love it. It really helps them stay in touch with the language curriculum for when school starts again.

    Mommy of two-3 & 6

  4. Michele:

    Thanks for the info! There are also programs at chuck e cheese and half price books

  5. Lexi Hope:

    HEB has a program – Read 10 books, mail in the completed form, and they will mail your child an HEB t-shirt.

  6. Great post, Lynnea! I just posted a “behind the scenes” look at summer reading programs last night, about the time thousands of ladybugs escaped in our library. Lots of fun going on, around the country! Annie Joy

  7. marci357:

    We are far far away from the big bookstores, so rely on our local library.

    Summer reading program for kids and adults here. Kids have a pizza party at the end and prizes for all who complete the log. My grandkids beg to go to the library!

    And they like the Saturday afternoon music program free at the library also – grandson fell asleep last Saturday and that’s saying something for a very active 7 yr old :) We also like the free Monday night at the movies program – when the movie is G for grandkids :)

  8. We have participated in our local library’s summer reading program since my son was 2. They even have a program for adults, so I usually end up earning a free book too! Again, we love the library!

  9. Erika:

    Our local elementary school sent home a flyer with days during the summer that they are open and current students can check out books. They will also have computers set up with programs to practice math.

  10. My kids particpate in the library’s summer program. A local bank is offering the kids $10 to be deposited into a savings account for reading 10 books. Not a bad deal and it happens to be our bank, so my kids have savings accounts there.

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