Summer officially started for my kids a few weeks ago, but for me it finally starts tomorrow! This means I can start making plans for what my kids and I will do each day. This usually means outings, camp, swimming, fun outside, special cool treats, and more. The challenge each year is to not spend a fortune to keep them busy. Fortunately, there is one activity that is good any time of year and is inexpensive – 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 participated in several reading programs. Our favorite programs have been the ones offered by our local county library system, our local Jewish community library, and Half Price Books. Some programs even offer kick-off and finishing events with crafts, snacks, and entertainment!
For my easy form to log your child’s reading, see my post Record your summer reading with ease! I like recording their reading on one form and then transferring it at the end of the summer to each program’s form. This makes it much easier to keep track of it all!
Here are some suggestions of summer reading programs:
∞ 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 free events throughout the summer for kids and parents.
∞ County or city library system – In St. Louis, the county and city have their own sets of libraries that are separate from the municipality library in our town. Both systems have their own summer reading programs. The prizes often include books, coupons, special events like museum nights or pool parties, baseball tickets, excursion tickets, and more! They have programs for all ages, too!
Be sure to also ask at your local libraries for a schedule of FREE summer events and programs! Many include famous authors and family-friendly performances. I scour each year’s guide to decide which different free events I will bring my kids to. We travel all around town to go to great free events!
∞ Adult summer reading programs – Ask at your local library if they have an Adult Summer Reading program. I have seen many listed on individual library websites. You might be able to earn some prizes, too!
NOTE: To find a United States public library near you, check out the Public Libraries website.
∞ Barnes & Noble – Kids in grades 1 – 6 can earn a free book after reading 8 books, logging them and writing a few details about them. This year’s program runs from May 15 – Sept. 3, 2018.
∞ Half Price Books – This bookseller has a Feed Your Brain summer reading program. Kids 14 and under earn Bookworm Bucks (it is usually $5 for each month of the program) to spend at their stores after reading 300 minutes per month. They also have a program for teens. The website link has great resources for choosing books for your children as well!
∞ TD Bank – For those of you who have a TD Bank near you, they also have a summer reading program. If your child (kindergarten through fifth grade) 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. This summer is the last year for this program.
∞ Chuck E. Cheese’s – This amusement offers reward calendars for kids for doing various things including reading. If your child reads a book every day for 2 weeks, he or she can earn 10 free tokens. One offer per child can be redeemed in a day. Food purchase is required, though (not beverage), so this may not work for any families that keep kosher.
If you are aware of any other national programs, please let me know in the Comments section!