Every year we see several programs designed to keep children reading all summer. Often these are awesome programs that are totally free and your child can earn prizes.
I know summer might be weeks away for many of you, but it never hurts to get started thinking about these programs. Especially if there are certain books you need from the library. You might have to wait weeks to get your books anyway.
You can see a summary of the programs currently available. If anyone is aware of other programs please let us know!
American Girl. They have a free reading event all summer long. The dates vary by location but it looks like most start on May 27th. I’m sure as it gets closer they will have more detailed information. In the meantime, they have several reading resources and fun printables you might grab.
Book Adventure - This free program is from Sylvan. Your child will select a book and read it. They take a short quiz to see how much they understood and how much they remember.
They collect points based upon the answers of the quizes and then they can cash the points in for prizes. Some sample books included in the program would be Charlotte’s Web, Harry Potter, Dr Seuss and other books that children might want to read anyway.
The prizes include free chocolate bars, temporary tattoos, Highlights magazine and more…
PBS Kids Summer Reading Challenge – Typically PBS offers a summer reading challenge starting in June. Children can win prizes but it doesn’t look like the 2014 program has been announced yet. You might check back to this page through iVillage and see if more information pops up. (I don’t think they did a program last year.)
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. They can choose from a handful of books as the freebie and quantities are limited for the books available. This program begins May 20th and runs through Sept 2nd.
*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. There is also free online storytime that is perfect for small children.
Local Public Library - 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 and some libraries offer specific incentives and prizes to children for reading.
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. A food purchase is required and you might call ahead just to confirm participation.
Scholastic Summer Challenge - This begins May 5th. The theme this year is Reading under the Stars and is aimed at children ages 4-14. Children can log in their reading minutes and earn rewards. There are free booklists to download by age group. It looks like entire schools can participate and the school that logs in the most minutes reading will get a visit from David Shannon and Gordon Kormon. Parents can also download free learning activities printables. You can also download the free reading timer app for Android or Apple devices.
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.)
They also have a specific summer reading program. The program runs from May 15-July 17th. Children will receive a free book after reading 8 books from their recommended list. The book list is here.
It also says throughout the summer there will be a weekly storytime that will include Healthy Snacks from Happy Family, Character Appearances and activities and more.
NOTE: we did this program last year and at my store they just grabbed a bunch of random books and had them in baskets for the kids to pick from. They did get really low on choices so this year we will go in much earlier. We got a Fancy Nancy hardcover book last year.
Pizza Hut Book It! Program. This program has free reading adventure packs for parents to download, read and do activities, recipes for children that tie back to certain books and more… You can enter your zip code and see if your local school has requested participation. It looks like schools can win free pizzas for participating. Homeschoolers can also enter this program!
The summer information has not been updated but you can check back as it should be soon.
TD Bank: Read 10 books this summer and keep track on the free printable reading log. Take it in to your TD Bank and get $10 deposited into your new or existing young savers account.
So there are lots of options to keep the kids learning and engaged during the summer!
I will keep this list updated as new ones pop up so be sure to check back often!
And if you are looking for more things to do with the family this summer, check out this Summer Fun List!
There is a free printable with 100 Ideas of Fun (and frugal) things to do plus a blank printable to make your own list.