Summer Reading Programs

When I was little I loved the summer reading programs that our library offered to us. We had a Bookmobile that used to come right outside of our house and I would load up on books to get the freebies that were offered by the library for doing all of my summer reading. Always an overachiever, I reported to the library that I would read one hundred books during the two month span that the library offered the reading program. I started reading with a passion, and imagine my dismay when I only read ninety-nine books. I couldn’t just read a board book or something to get the credit because that wouldn’t be me. No, I had to report to the librarian that I did not make my summer reading goal and forfeited my chance to earn the prizes. You would think that they would have given me the free book bag or something considering how close I was to the goal…but no! It was a disappointing summer for me and one my family loves to laugh about now. For some reason this is still not funny to me- not accomplishing my goals is not a joking matter to me…well, maybe it is a little bit funny.

We have already worked hard with Ethan (and even Emily) on instilling the love of reading within them. We hit the library regularly for the kids and my husband reads to our son every night. Reading has always been such an important thing to me (and still is) and I want that for our children too. Thankfully, there are many opportunities to help our children read, particularly during the summer months when there are so many programs open to kids to get them to read during the summer.

Here are the programs that I know of. Please feel free to post any additional reading programs that you know about through our comments section….even if they are local (just post city/state) since there is bound to be someone else in your area looking for something too!

Scholastic’s Summer Reading Buzz

Scholastic offers a great summer reading program and their site includes tips for you on choosing books for your children that are age-appropriate based on the grade level that they are entering into. Scholastic is offering a donation to K.I.D.S. for each book your child reads. K.I.D.S. is a global charity of leading retailers, manufacturers, and licensors of children’s and youth products, in partnership with major foundations, committed to helping improve the lives of children and their families who are ill, living in poverty, or are the victims of natural disasters. Sign up now and you can start an online reading log to help give books to kids in need. Plus, you can enter to win cool prizes, test your wits with book quizzes, find tons of printable fun, and more!

Build-A-Bear Workshop

Join Build-A-Bear’s Summer Reading Program and get free stuff! If your child reads three books by June 30th, they will get a free bookmark. If your child reads six books by July 31st, they will get a five dollar gift card for their store & you can print out a reading certificate of achievement for them. Now the question is…what can you get for five dollars at Build-A-Bear? Hmm….I have not been in that store yet, so I am not sure, but you might want to bring your wallet with you when you go! Again, sometimes free doesn’t mean free!

Barnes & Noble

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program, they have partnered with Lemony Snicket, author of the A Series of Unfortunate Events collection, to foster a love of reading and its rewards. A Summer of Unfortunate Events 2006 Reading Program benefits students in the first through sixth grades and is designed to encourage kids to develop their own reading preferences and motivate them with a meaningful incentive to join Lemony Snicket and the doomed Baudelaire children on an unfortunate summer adventure.Through our Summer Reading program, it’s easy for kids to earn free books! They simply read any eight books—library books, books borrowed from friends or books bought at Barnes & Noble—write about their favorite part, and bring a completed A Summer of Unfortunate Events Journal page to a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Everything you need to help your students or children participate—and earn free books! —is available in PDF format.

*Please note that this link goes to their Community Page. For some reason (probably due to copyright laws) the link will not work directly. Just click under the summer reading program. If this link stops working, then just run a search under Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program and it should pop up within your search**

Reading is Fundamental & Target Stores

RIF and Target invite you to make reading a part of summertime fun by tracking your reading hours online for a chance to win a Target Gift Card (limited quantity available – see official rules for details). Plus, you’ll find activities, games, and ways to be a part of the RIF Reading Planet Club. Despite the fact that you only win a *chance* to receive a Target Gift Card, there are plenty of great downloads available on their site. They have a bookmark that you can download (to keep track of your hours read), a club for reading, and a free summer reading screensaver (Gotta have a theme for your computer, right?) You can also download a summer reading activity booklet.

Don’t forget to also check your local library for some of the best summer reading programs around. If you are looking for great reading material, the First Lady has compiled a list of great reads for each age group. This list can be a great starting point for your child and will help you find great age-appropriate reading material for your children.

One more helpful note, don’t let your child sign up to read one hundred books!

Happy reading, everyone!

Published June 12, 2006 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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