Although our kids are doing a little schoolwork through the summer, their lessons are relaxed enough to allow for lots of extra-curricular reading. That’s why summer book clubs and reading reward programs are always popular at our house.
What follows is an updated list of programs that will inspire your child to curl up with some good books — not only this summer, but on into the next school year, as well. Check out these great rewards they can earn for spending as little as 15-30 minutes a day reading (LINKS UPDATED MAY 2019):
Barnes & Noble – Get a free children’s book
Kids in grades 1-6 can earn a free age-appropriate book this summer when they read eight (choose your favorite prize book from a predetermined list). Download a reading journal to get started!
Books-a-Million – Free Drawstring Backpack
Read any 4 books from BAM’s summer adventure reading section in-store or online. Record the title and author in BAM’s summer reading notebook. Then redeem your completed log at your local Books-a-Million store for your reading reward — a free Diary of a Wimpy Kid drawstring backpack.
Braum’s Book Buddy Program – Free ice cream
Children in grades 1-5 can earn an ice cream treat for every six books they read. The program provides reading logs with fun stickers for tracking progress. Kit includes coupons for two free cones, two free sundaes, and two free frozen yogurts. The prizes are to be earned during the school year, but the coupons are good through June 30. Enrollment for the 2019-20 school year will open August 1. For more information, follow this link or write: Braum’s Book Buddy Reading Program/ PO Box 25429/ OKC, OK 73125.
Chuck E. Cheese – Earn free game tokens
Kids can earn 10 free game tokens from Chuck E Cheese by reading every day for two weeks. These rewards are available all year long, with a limit of one reward certificate per day per child. Visit their website to find charts for helping your kids establish other good habits, as well.
Family Reading Club – Design your own program
You might consider hosting a “Family Reading Club” during the months of summer. Help foster in your children a continued love and preference for reading. This is a fun alternative to traditional clubs, especially if your children have grown too old to participate in the other programs.
Print reading logs for each of member of your family. Kids keep track of minutes or pages read, and parents determine the prizes. Follow this link for more ideas for making summer reading fun. And for great book recommendations (plus another fun printable), follow this link: Summer ABC Reading Challenge
Half-Price Books – Earn up to $10 in Bookworm Bucks
With Half-Price Books “Feed Your Brain” Summer Reading Program, kids can read at least 15 minutes/day or 300 minutes/month through June and July to earn a $5 coupon (one per month) which can be used to purchase books at Half-Price books. Kids can track their time on these HPB reading logs. High Schoolers can qualify for the same prize by reading a book a month and writing a short review.
HEB Grocery Stores – Free T-shirt
Kids who live in Texas can get a free “Reading Club” T-shirt from H.E.B. when they read 10 books before October 1. Visit HEB to pick up a reading log, or download one here (Note: HEB has not yet updated the link for their 2019 program): HEB Reading Log.
Lifeway’s R.E.A.D. Program – Free Bible & a Children’s Book
Although LifeWay has closed their physical stores, they are still very much open and active online. Visit the Lifeway website and complete the registration to download a free copy of their summer reading journal. Children who read six books and memorize six verses by August 31 will earn a free Bible and one children’s title (pick from a selection of nine choices).
Local Public Libraries – Programs and prizes vary
Many Public Libraries offer all sorts of programs aimed at fostering in kids a love for books and reading, including book clubs with prizes, weekly story times, guest lectures and performances, craft days, tea parties, and fun family-friendly films.
For those of you who are local, you should check out all the great programs being offered by Tyler Public Library this summer, including their 1KB4K (1000 Books before Kindergarten) program and prizes. Others can follow this link to find a library near you and learn what programs are available in your area.
Olga’s Kitchen – Free Kid’s Meal (including Dessert)
My husband waited tables at Olga’s Kitchen during high school and took me there for one of our first dates, as well. Sadly, that San Antonio restaurant is now closed, but Olga’s Kitchen lives on in Michigan and Illinois. Not only that, but those restaurants are doing what they can to promote literacy. Kids 12 and under can earn a free kids meal (plus dessert!) from Olga’s by doing just 3 1/2 hours of reading. Complete this reading time tracker and turn it in at your nearest Olga’s Kitchen to redeem your reward.
NOTE: If you’d like free kids’ meals, but don’t live near an Olga’s Kitchen, check out this list (no reading required): Kids Eat Free in the USA
Pizza Hut’s Book-It Program – Free Pizza
Pizza Hut awards free personal pan pizzas to school children who meet their reading goals. This program is also open to homeschoolers. Enroll by Spetember 1 for the upcoming school year by filling out this form. Pizza Hut also sponsors a summer break reading challenge for kids that includes a suggested reading list and free printable activity pages for each title.
Pottery Barn Kids – Special Surprise
Children can earn a special prize after attending five story time book readings at Pottery Barn Kids. The New York City store hosts story times on Saturday from 10-10:30 a.m. All other locations host story time every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m.
Scholastic – Various reading incentives
This site offers free printable bookmarks, coloring pages, and reading goal logs, plus pointers for parents and educators who want to motivate children to read.
Showcase Cinemas – Free Movie Admission
Kids who bring a book report with them to select Bookworm Wednesdays can exchange it for a free admission ticket. Every Wednesday from July 10 to July 24, 2019.
Six Flags “Read to Succeed” – Free ticket to Six Flags
This programs awards K-6 students (including homeschoolers) a free ticket to the amusement park for reading just six hours, but the deadline to sign-up is March 1. That’s rather late for school year planning, but extremely early for summer programs, so make a note on your calendar to check back next January for the 2020 program.
Know about any reading reward program I’ve missed? Please leave a comment below and share, so I can add it to the list.