Summer reading programs 2012: Promote reading and earn prizes!

Summer time will be here before we know it. For the kids, it means days to fill with camp, swimming, fun outside, special cool treats, and more. As a parent, I know it is hard to find enough activities to keep my children busy and not spend a fortune. But one activity that is good any time of year is reading.

During the summer, your kids can earn rewards for reading by participating in one or several summer reading programs. These incentive programs are a great way to help bridge the summer gap in learning and retention and to help your kids earn some great prizes for doing an already rewarding activity.

For years, my kids have joined the Saul Brodsky Jewish Community Library’s Summer Reading Club. This is our local Jewish library. The librarian, Barb, and her devoted staff, host a kickoff and ending party complete with crafts, prizes, snacks, and storytelling. For keeping track of our reading, we have earned tickets to various amusements in town, free treats from the local bakery and deli, free ice cream, books, toys, and a variety of other prizes. We particularly like her program because even young children can participate and the log is easy to fill out.

Here are some suggestions for programs to participate in:

Local libraries – Find out if your municipality library has its own summer reading program. This makes it very convenient for redeeming logs for prizes. Our local library even hosts different events throughout the summer for kids and parents.

County or city library system – In St. Louis, the county has its own set of libraries that are separate from the municipality library from our town. This system has its own summer reading program. My son’s teacher, Cherie, had a representative come to their class to speak about their program and he is very excited. What a great idea! Scholastic Summer Challenge – Ask your child’s teacher about participating in this national reading incentive program. The teacher signs up their students and then students can log in on their own to record books read, etc. Parents can find tips, booklists, and logging tools on the website as well.

iVillage PBS KIDS Summer Reading Community Challenge – Starting June 18, families can get daily emails with literacy tips and activities. Participants will also get book suggestions, discounts, and free downloads of PBS KIDS shows. There will be daily chances to win $1,000 and other prizes.

TD Bank – For those of you who have a TD Bank near you, they also have a summer reading program. If your child reads 10 books, he or she can earn $10 to be deposited into a new or existing Young Savers account.

Sylvan Book Adventure – Children in grades K-8 can choose recommended books, take a quiz, and earn points redeemable for prizes. This program is FREE and you do not need to be enrolled at a Sylvan center.

UNCONFIRMED PROGRAMS FROM LAST YEAR:

Barnes & Noble – Last year B & N hosted a program in which kids could earn a free book after reading 8 books. I am not sure if they will be offering this program again this year as their website only has details from last year.

Half Price Books – This bookseller also hosted their own reading program last year.  Kids earned $5 Back-to-School Bucks to spend at their stores after reading 600 minutes. Details have not yet been released on their website. Check back later for more details.

H.E.Buddy – The H.E. Butt Grocery Company sponsors a Summer Reading program. Last year kids earned a free T-shirt for reading 10 books. Click on the section for Clubs and Contests for information. There are no dates on the program information, so I could not confirm if this program is still running.

Pottery Barn Kids – Last year Pottery Barn Kids also sponsored a reading program where kids could earn prizes for reading books from a recommended list of books. Their website does not yet have current information for this year. Check back soon at this link or ask at your local store for more details.

Be sure to also ask at your local libraries for a schedule of summer events and programs! Many include famous authors and family-friendly performances.

I will update this post as I find more current information. If you are aware of any other national programs, please let me know in the Comments section!

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