Summer is upon us and the books are calling! Our lessons continue through the summer, but there is a new energy to our reading. Posters go up at the library and bookstores beckon with rewards for doing what they already love doing! 95% of libraries offer summer reading programs. Businesses jump in and offer incentives.
Here are some free summer reading programs for you to take advantage of this summer:
Barnes and Noble Summer Reading
B&N provides you with free reading journals for your children to record 8 books they read. Any 8 books. Once they turn in their free reading journals, they each get to choose a free book. The free book options are very limited, but it’s still fun. There are Spanish titles available, which might be fun to choose an old favorite and work on a new language.
The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
This tracks minutes read as a competition with other classrooms. Since your class is likely a class size of 1, your odds of winning are slim. But there are still fun rewards. Register as an educator. Scholastic recognizes that homeschool teachers are real teachers and makes it easy to choose homeschooling as an option in the registration forms. Once registered as a school, you add a class for each student’s grade, and then add the students to your class. Scholastic generates a username and password for each student. Students can then go in and log their minutes, earning rewards and gaining access to fun extras. There is also a section for parents, with more fun ideas for summer reading. Parents can register in the Summer Reading Sweepstakes each week for a chance to win $10 credit to Scholastic and other goodies.
Book Adventure by Sylvan Learning
After reading, kids visit the website to take a quiz on what they read. There are a lot of books listed in the database, but we haven’t found any that were on our recent reading lists. Students can suggest books for them to add. Students earn prizes for completing quizzes.
Pizza Hut always has a great Book-It program year round, but they also host a summer reading program, logging minutes that can inspire some extra reading fun.
Chuck E. Cheese
Students log reading for two weeks to earn 10 free tokens for their next trip to Chuck E. Cheese’s. A food purchase is required, making this not a great deal, but if you are planning to go anyway, you might as well enjoy free tokens!
Half Price Books
Students 8th grade and under earn Bookworm Bucks when they log 300 minutes of reading over the summer. Parents can read to younger children so that they can earn bucks before they can read. High school students earn bucks by submitting book reviews!
New York Times Annual Summer Reading Contest
Every Friday, the Times posts the question: What interested you most in The Times this week? Students aged 13-19 share their responses online. Winners are announced and published on the blog the following Tuesday.
H.E.B. Rockin’ Summer Reading Club
Students log 10 books read throughout the summer and mail in those titles on a form by October 1st. HEB then mails a t-shirt for each participating student. T-shirt sizes go from X-small 2-4 all the way up to X-large 18-20.
Your local library
Every library is different, so there’s is no predicting what might be available in your town. If your library does not have a program going, you might search around for other libraries within driving distance. We make good use of our local library, but we’ve found it well worth the investment of joining a much larger branch that is an hour and a half away from us. This usually requires paying a fee comparable to the taxes in that county. Another option is to volunteer at your local library and help set up a program. Many local businesses are quite happy to donate free coupons for treats and discounts that can be offered as prizes.
Summer Reading Adventures with PBS
This one isn’t for prizes, but contains themes for each week of the summer. PBS provides many downloadable files and activities for engage your young readers.
American Girl Read-a-Palooza
They offer reading events in-store from May 1st to August 26th. You have to be able to visit a store for the prizes, but there are activities that can be enjoyed online if you don’t have a store nearby.
TDBank Summer Reading
If you have a TD Bank near you, students in grades K-5 can log 10 books over the summer to earn $10 for a Young Saver Account.
Pottery Barn Kids
If you have a local Pottery Barn, you can take advantage of activities throughout the summer. There are treasure hunts, weekly story times, and free books to be earned.
Showcase Bookworm Wednesday
If you have a Showcase Cinema near you, they accept book reports as payment for movie tickets at 10:00 a.m. every Wednesday between July 8th – July 29th!
Junie B. Jones
If your child enjoys reading the Junie B. Jones series, be sure to sign them up for the reading club that includes a reading kit and activities. This is free and goes quickly every year. They are out of kits for this year, but you can still download PDF materials for free.
This option is closed for this year’s session, but be sure to register your homeschool for next year. Teacher’s submit students’ names to earn Six Flags tickets for the following summer.
Homemade Reading Club
Design your own reading incentive program! Have children add their finished book titles to this ice cream printable. Once they’ve finished topped their ice cream cone with the # of “scoops” you decide, take them out for a special time with mom or dad.
The following restaurants have generously offered programs in participating locations in years past. Be sure to check to visit your local store and ask if they have any incentives for this year.
Don’t forget to check with your local bowling alley, skating rink, and other favorite locations to see if they offer incentives.
Do you know of any other great places to check out for Summer Reading fun?