Educators and parents agree: summer reading is important. Not only does recreational reading help students maintain their language arts skills, but it may also be the difference between a struggling reader and a successful one.
Luckily, there are lots of summer reading programs out there to entice kids to pick up a book. Some even include incentives like pizza and movie tickets!
Here’s a list of some educator and parent favorites. Share this list as part of your summer work and help your students discover the joy of reading for fun.
Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Journal (students in grades 1-6)
Students may read any 8 books and record them in a summer reading journal. They bring the completed journal in to a Barnes & Noble store between July 1 and August 31 and may choose one free book from a specified selection by grade level.
Books a Million Summer Reading Adventure (students up to about age 12)
Author Shannon Messenger is the Reading Ambassador for the 2022 Summer Reading Adventure at Books a Million (BAM). Participants choose four books from a special section in the store. They bring their completed logbook into a participating BAM location to receive their prize, a pencil case inspired by Shannon Messenger’s “Keepers of the Lost Cities” series. Prizes are only available while supplies last, so complete this one early.
Chuck E. Cheese’s Summer Reading Program (PreK through age 12)
Chuck E. Cheese has a Reading Rewards Calendar where kids mark off every day that they read. When they read for 2 weeks straight, they earn 10 free play points with any food purchase at a Chuck E. Cheese location.
Half-price Books Reading Camp (students in PreK through teens)
Starting June 1, parents can download materials including book recommendations, craft and activity ideas, coloring sheets and reward stickers related to reading. If you live in the vicinity of a Half-price Books location, you can pick up a copy of a camper’s reward map and information on how to earn $5 in Bookworm Bucks in June and July.
H-E-Buddy Summer Reading Club (children ages 3-12 who are Texas residents)
The H-E-B. grocery stores’ summer reading club provides a form to log 10 books. One book must be a specified selection at H-E-B. An adult has to initial each book once read. Then the form is mailed in, and a “cool prize” is sent to the child.
Junie B. Jones Reading Club (children ages 5-8)
Junie B. is a perennial favorite of young readers, and this club is sure to be a hit. Not only do students get a printable membership card, they get to read funny quotes and write their own in a reading log. They can also draw pictures and write their own stories. Finally, they can enter for a chance to win a Stupid Smelly Bus visit to their school.
Pizza Hut Camp Book-It Reading Program (children ages 4-12)
This is a parent-led digital reading program. Track your children’s reading on Pizza Hut’s digital dashboard in June, July and August. Books, magazines and eBooks all count toward your child’s monthly reading goal. When they reach their goal, children will receive a certificate for a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza.
RIF Reading Road Trip (children up to about age 9)
As the nation’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit, Reading is Fundamental (RIF) is on a mission to insure all children have the ability to read and succeed. RIF’s Reading Road Trip includes books set all over the U.S. Through books, children spend their summer visiting new and exciting destinations.
Scholastic Summer Reading (all ages)
Scholastic has set up Home Base online, where students can read and record their hours. The more they read, the more fun they “unlock” with online activities. The site also offers events such live author meetups, trivia games and fan art. By creating a Reading Streak, kids can help unlock a donation of books to children in rural America with limited access to libraries.
Showcase Cinemas Bookworm Wednesdays (children up until age 12)
Showcase Cinemas (located in select states in the northeastern U.S.) have a summer reading program, where kids can earn movie tickets. In the program, children present a book report to participating locations and earn free admission to a select children’s film on Wednesdays. Accompanying parents and children under six are admitted free of charge.
Sonlight Summer Reading Challenge (all ages)
This home school curriculum company has put together a free downloadable Summer Reading Challenge Kit with reading-related games and activities. There are suggestions for family movie night centering around books that your children are reading, templates for bookmarks, awards, reading Bingo, and more.
Sync audiobooks (teens age 13 and older)
Teens may enjoy 16 weeks of free audiobooks. Each week, they may check out two thematically paired books. The books are delivered via the Sora student reading app.
Many local libraries offer summer reading programs with special themes or incentives. In addition, if you’re looking for books for your children, consider these sources:
• Amazon Prime Reading, a private free library for Amazon Prime members
• PBS Kids Picture Book Read Along Videos
• Storytime from Space featuring astronauts reading STEM books
Do you have a favorite summer reading program that’s not on the list? Share with us in the comments!
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