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13 Summer Reading Programs for Kids where they can earn free books, movie tickets, pizza, and more!

While teaching 3rd grade, I would spend the first month of school reteaching 2nd-grade content.

When I would ask my beginning of the year 3rd graders, what did they do over the summer, some would say:

  • I went camping

  • I spent time with my family

  • I went to the amusement park

  • I played video games

  • I watched TV.

When I would ask if any of them:

  • Read a book

  • Visited the library

  • Had an adult read to them

  • Listened to audiobooks

Many of my beginning-of-the-year third graders would say:


Reading doesn’t have to stop when the school year ends

Did you know that 2 months of reading skills are lost over the summer?

However, research also suggests that regular reading may be just as effective as summer school in preventing summer learning loss.

That's right!

Whether your child attends summer school or joins a summer reading program, he or she will experience positive outcomes. These outcomes can help prepare him or her to be academically ready in the Fall.

However, these positive outcomes depend on the quality of the reading program. So, how do you know which program is best for your child?

Summer Reading Programs

Here is a list of 13 Summer Reading Programs that will not only help to foster a love for reading but also give tangible rewards.

1. Local Public Library

First on the list is your local library. Check with your local library for free summer reading programs that include activities and incentives for children of all ages. Most public libraries have a reading program for children, and if they don't, the librarian is a valuable resource who can point you in the right direction. In addition to summer reading programs, most libraries also have Storytime and other reading-themed activities.

2. Barnes & Nobles

Every summer, Barnes & Noble put together an excellent list of 100+ books that make for entertaining (and secretly educational) summer reading for children of all ages. After reading eight books and logging them in the downloadable reading journal, your child can earn a FREE book.

Children grades 1-6 are eligible for the Barnes and Noble Kids' Summer Reading Program. Only one book is available for each child who completes a reading journal, and the selection must be made from the store's selected books.

3. Scholastics Summer Challenge

Scholastic has an online summer reading program that encourages kids to log on and record the amount of time they spend reading.

This year, children can create an avatar, meet new people, earn virtual rewards, and help unlock donations for children who have limited or no access to books. All you have to do is sign up for Scholastic Home Base and maintain a "reading streak" throughout the summer!

4. Camp BOOK IT Summer Reading Program

Camp BOOK IT! is open to all families with children in Pre-K-6th grade (ages 4-12). Parents can use the digital dashboard to set goals, track reading, and reward their children. Each child is assigned a personal reading goal for the month, and if they meet it, they receive a free pizza.

Learn More: Camp BOOK IT

5. Half-Price Books Summer Reading Camp

The Half Price Books Summer Reading Camp is ideal for children ages 0 to 12. There are regular prizes for children who read for more than 300 minutes during June and July. There are also suggestions for mystery books, printable sheets, online story time, and a variety of fun activities to keep you busy during the long summer days.

6. Reading is Fundamental Summer Reading Pledge

Soar into summer with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) by taking the summer reading pledge. RIF invites parents to make a summer reading commitment. Sign-up through the website and share your commitment to keeping your child reading throughout the summer.

In addition, the first 200 families who sign up will receive a copy of A Sofia Special, one of the books featured in the RIF summer collection.

7. Showcase Cinemas Bookworm Wednesdays

Bookworm Wednesdays is a fun and rewarding summer reading program that grants kids free admission to a select children's film. To get free admission, your child would need to present a book report at a participating Cinema de Lux, Showcase, or Multiplex Cinemas box office.

8. Chuck E. Cheese Summer Rewards Program

Looking for a fun and free way to get your children to do their chores, finish their homework, practice teamwork, and even read over the summer? Download, print, and use the Chuck E. Cheese Rewards Calendars and Behavior Charts for Kids to keep track of your child's progress.

When your child has completed his or her goal, download and print Chuck E. Cheese's Award & Reward certificates, then bring them to Chuck E. Cheese's for 10 free points to use on games, pizza, and more.

9. Sonlight Summer Reading Challenge Kit

From the Sonlight homeschool curriculum, try this reading challenge for a variety of ages and reading levels. When you combine the printables and suggested activities with great books, reading becomes a pleasure rather than a chore.

Download the printable Summer Reading Kit. It's jam-packed with reading activities that will keep your child reading all summer.

10. Sync Summer Audiobook Program for Teens

Sync's summer reading program is aimed at teenagers. Every teen will be given two free audiobooks each week for the entire summer. Perfect for reading on the go or the couch. Each week, Sync will provide a current young adult book as well as a classic title for teens to download for free via the SORA / OverDrive app.

Even if it is just an audiobook, this should encourage more teens to read. There are many titles to choose from, and they can all be downloaded for free.

11. Professional Sports Teams

Many professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays, Seattle Seahawks, Portland Trail Blazers, and the Washington Nationals, sponsor summer reading programs. Check to see if your local team has a reading program.

Learn More:

12. Junie B. Jones Reading Club

The Junie B. Jones series is a favorite among millions of children and the Junie B. Kids Club is sure to keep your child engaged in reading over the summer. Once your kid signs up for the reading club, he or she will be kept up to date on all things Junie B.! Expect monthly updates on exciting new activities, events, sweepstakes, and other opportunities.

13. Create your Own Summer Reading Book Club

Reading is more enjoyable with friends, so why not form your own book club? Gather 8 to 10 friends from school, summer camp, or neighbors who are all around your child's reading level, choose a theme, and spark some excitement about reading!

Chicago Parent magazine has some fantastic ideas for starting your summer reading club.

Give your Child a Summer to Remember

Summer may be a time to unwind, but kids should still be encouraged to read. Books enrich minds and inspire people of all ages to express themselves creatively.

Summer reading programs are great for children and provide an excellent opportunity for them to learn outside of the classroom.

Since research shows that kids who don't read over their summer break lose some of the skills they've learned, it's important to find some creative ways to get kids connected to books.

Participate in a few of the wonderful programs listed above.


join me in my 4-week virtual summer reading enrichment clubs.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) Adventures 2023!

These summer reading enrichment clubs are available for students in grades 1st-6th!

🎨Art Club (ages 6-8)

🧪Science Club (ages 9-11)

These clubs will help avoid summer learning loss, enhance your child's reading skills and keep him or her sharp for the upcoming school year.

😎 Happy Summer!!! 😎

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