Free Summer Reading Programs for Kids 2012

I don’t know what is happening around here but I swear someone keeps sneaking days past me because summer is just around the corner!

I don’t know how the time flies by but if you have little ones you might want to check out the free summer reading programs available right now.

This is a great little list to pull out when the whining about being bored starts up (or you can just point to the closet with the vacuum inside and suggest they start there.)

Book Adventure – Sylvan offers this FREE reading incentive program. Basically your child reads books and then takes a simple comprehension quiz to make sure they understood what they read.  The quiz is usually about 10 questions long.  They earn points based on how much they remember from reading the book.

There are hundreds of books to choose from in all reading levels.  These are common books that can be found at your local library.  Once they have earned enough points they can trade them in for some really neat prizes!

National Amusements Theaters Bookworm Wednesdays – Your child can earn a FREE movie ticket from National Amusements Theaters when they read a book and complete a book report.

PBS Kids Summer Reading Challenge – This challenge kicks off on June 6th and includes a FREE six week reading program and the chance for your kids to win daily prizes for their participation.

Barnes & Noble Imagination Destination – This summer reading program through Barnes & Noble gives your child the ability to earn a FREE book after reading 8 books and keeping track of them in a reading log.  The new program for 2012 has not been released yet but you can check back in a few weeks and we should see it updated.
*If you have little ones, my Barnes and Noble also offers free storytime twice a week. They read books and get cookies and there is usually coloring and sometimes special appearances from characters in the book.  You can enter your zip code here to see a list of events at your store.

Local Public Library – Don’t forget to check out your local libraries to find out which programs they’ll be offering this summer.  My library has a free story time for little ones that we go to from time to time.

TD Bank Summer Reading Program – Read and keep track of 10 books this summer and your child will get $10 added to their Young Saver Account FREE!

Chuck E. Cheese – Earn 10 FREE tokens every time your child reads for 2 weeks in a row.  Just fill out the form and bring it in to claim your free token.

Scholastic Summer Challenge – Log in your reading minutes to the Scholastic site and your child will be able to participate in a World Record challenge as well as earn digital prizes!

Half Price Books is offering $5 Gift Cards to kids (ages 14 and under) who choose to read at least 15 minutes each day throughout their summer break during June &  July!

Pottery Barn Kids– Free storytime for little ones on Tuesday at 11am.  You get a little passport and once you attend 5 storytimes, you get a free gift.  (Just double check the time by calling ahead to your store.)

Pottery Barn also has a summer reading program this year!  Two programs are offered depending on the age of the child and once they complete the program they get a little gift!

And one last note, if you are looking for an inexpensive option to purchase books, Amazon has a 4 for 3 program where you buy 3 books and the 4th one is free!

So there are lots of options to keep the kids learning and engaged during the summer!

(Thanks Saving Dollars and Cents)


  1. Kim says

    Did you get the PBS one to work? I entered my email address and then I got the “website can not be displayed”

  2. Amy says

    Just a heads up…I think the Barnes and Noble link is for last year’s program. I searched for 2012 and couldn’t find an updated form. Hopefully they will continue this program.

  3. Charlene says


    The link is still good but it is about a month out from the program to start so I think they just haven’t updated the form yet. I would keep an eye for around May 20th or so.

  4. Laura Mc says

    Thanks so much for posting these! I’ve been compiling some ideas to encourage my 3rd graders to read over the summer. For local readers, kids in K-8th grade can also earn 2 free rides at the CA State Fair by reading books. Go to and look under the “more information” section at the bottom. Click on “read to ride” and you can print the form.

    Parents can offer their own incentives for kids to read and practice math facts, etc. over summer. I found the website that has programs all around the country. I haven’t tried it because I don’t have kids myself, but it might be fun. It is not tied to reading, but it could serve as a free reward activity for keeping up their skills over summer.

    Another possible reward would be going to the movie theater when they show older movies inexpensively. The local theaters haven’t posted their summer programs yet, but it might be worth watching for.

    I’m glad you included the local library. Many kids don’t know they can have their own card and that’s pretty exciting. It’s so easy to check out books, audio books, and videos by reserving them online. My library sends me an email when the books are ready and another one to remind me when they are due. If your readers haven’t been to the public library in a while, it might be time to check it out (ha, ha)!

  5. Sylvia says

    We got a flyer via the kids’ school from Old Spaghetti Factory. If they read 5 books, they get a free kid’s meal.

  6. CJ says

    Don’t forget your public library! Almost every single public library has a summer reading program for kids, and many have one for adults too!


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