Summer Reading Programs 2021

Many summer reading programs started in June and we have already been logging our reading! My apologies that this post is so late, though. Summer just really started a few weeks ago for our family. I am getting back to blogging and continuing to share family resources for summer.

I love having a concrete way to encourage my kids to read in the summer. Of course, we spend much time on outings, camp, swimming, and special treats. However, when we are home, I hate for them to spend all their time on screens!

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! With my kids being older now, I have the form on a clipboard so they can record it on their own.

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.

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.

∞ Professional sports’ teams – Check with your local teams to see if they are offering a summer reading program.


Menucha Classroom Solutions – This Jewish publisher offers an annual summer reading program for children in grades 1-8. Students should complete the downloadable reading journal and mail it before October 1, 2021. All participants will receive a free gift for completing the program and be entered to win one of three superb gift cards.

Barnes and Noble logo

Barnes & Noble – Kids in grades 1 – 6 can earn a free book (from a selection of books) after reading 8 books, logging them, and writing a few details about them. Students should bring their completed journals to a Barnes & Noble store between July 1 and August 31, 2021.

HPB summer reading

Half Price Books – This bookseller has a new Summer Reading Camp program where children can log their reading minutes each month to earn savings on store purchases. The rewards are emailed at the beginning of the following month. Parents can also enter a weekly giveaway to earn a $100 HPB gift card and a Half Pint Lending Library. Their website also features coloring pages and activities (see under the Activity of the Week section) and book recommendations (scroll down under the reading log and giveaway).

chuck e. cheese's logo

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/she can earn 10 free play points. 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. Scroll down the page to see the Reading Rewards calendars. The offer expires Dec. 31, 2021.

BAM summer reading

Books-a-Million – Kids can earn a free “Because of Winn-Dixie” notepad and pen after they read four participating books and complete the Summer Reading Adventure journal form. Supplies are limited, though.

Amazon smr reading challenge

Amazon Retail stores – Kids (grades K-8) who read any 7 books can earn a Star Reader Certificate and a free book from National Geographic Kids, while supplies last. To get a sign-up sheet, visit your local Amazon Books store. This promotion runs through August 23, 2021.

Showcase Cinemas

Showcase Cinemas – This theater chain is offering Bookworm Wednesdays. Kids can earn free admission to a select children’s film when they present their book report form (on the website) at a participating Showcase Cinemas box office. Accompanying parents or guardians and children under six years of age receive free admission and do not need to submit a book report. This program runs on Wednesdays, July 7 – 28, 2021, at 10 a.m.

buddy-summer-reading-250 (1)

H.E.B. Grocery stores – Children ages 3-12, who are residents of Texas, can participate in this program. Kids have to read ten books, log them on the journal, and can then earn a free prize. The program runs until Oct. 1, 2021.

Book it!

Pizza Hut – For my readers that do not keep kosher, Pizza Hut has brought back its BOOK IT! program. Kids in grades PreK-6th grade can track their reading for June, July, and August on their our digital dashboard. When they meet their monthly reading goal, they’ll receive a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza® from Pizza Hut.

If you are aware of any other national programs (that suit our readers), please let me know in the Comments section!


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