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 are always popular at our house. Keep reading for our complete list of the best reading reward programs out there for kids, newly updated for 2021.
Note: Some businesses have not yet posted details of their 2021 reading programs. So check back again once school is out. I’ll try to update this list again the first of June.
Kids earn freebies by reading — all year long
With as little as 15-30 minutes of reading a day, children can earn a treasure trove of free prizes this summer, including:
- a free book from Barnes & Noble
- free movie tickets to Showcase Cinemas
- $10 gift card to Timberdoodle
- game tokens from Chuck E. Cheese
- free ice cream from Braums
- free notepad from Books-a-Million
- free pizza from Pizza Hut
- admission ticket to Six Flags
- free kids meals from the Rusty Bucket and Olga’s Kitchen
- lots more free stuff from local businesses and public libraries
These reading rewards will inspire your child to curl up with some good books all year long. I’ve listed them in alphabetical order for easy reference. Read carefully, then follow links to sign up.
Some of the programs are only offered during the summer months. Others are valid year round. A few require early registration. (If you’re too late to register this year, mark your calendar now so you won’t miss signing up next.)
If you know of any reading rewards program I’ve missed, please let me know in the comment section below. I’d love to add it to my list. Thanks!
Best 2021 Reading Reward Programs for Kids
Amazon Books – Discount on book purchase
Children (up to age 14) who read 8 books over the summer can earn a Star Reading Certificate which entitles them to $1 off their next book purchase.
Barnes & Noble – 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 Notepad
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 Because of Winn Dixie notepad.
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 coming 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 – 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
HEB Grocery Stores – Cool Prize
Kids who live in Texas can get a cool prize from H.E.B. when they read 10 books before October 1. In past years, the prize has been a free “Reading Club” T-shirt, but the website doesn’t say what the 2021 prize is. Visit HEB to pick up a reading log, or download one here: HEB Reading Log.
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
Children can earn a free personal pan pizza by completing Pizza Hut’s Summer Reading Challenge. Visit their website to download free reading logs, book marks, door hangers, book plates, and lots of free printable activity pages for kids.
Pizza Hut also sponsors a reading program through the school year called “Book It.” Children who meet their monthly reading goals earn free personal pan pizzas to celebrate. This program is also open to homeschoolers. Enroll by September 1 for the upcoming school year by filling out this form.
The Rusty Bucket – Free Kid’s Meal
Kids who read five books can earn a free kids meal. Sadly, there are no Rusty Bucket restaurants in Texas, but you can find them in Florida, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio.
Showcase Cinemas – Free movie admission
Bookworm Wednesdays are normally held in July, so I don’t yet know how COVID regulations are going to affect it. In the past, kids who brought a book report with them to select Showcase Cinemas could exchange it for a free admission ticket. Check your local theater in July to see if they plan to host Bookworm Wednesdays this summer.
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. My younger kids earned their tickets last year before COVID hit. All tickets issued in last year’s program will be valid through August 31, 2021, but the 2021 Read-to-Succeed Program was suspended due to COVID.
Our family is really hoping it will resume next year. Keep in mind that registration for the Six Flags Read to Succeed program normally opens in January, 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 2022 program.
Timberdoodle – Free $10 gift card
On of my favorite companies of all-time is sponsoring a brand new family reading challenge this year called “Read Around the World.” Families who read books set in 20 different countries will get $10 in store credit to spend on whatever they like. They will also be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card to Timberdoodle.
You have until September 6 to finish, so better get reading! But first, visit Timberdoodle to download a free reading log.
A reading challenge kit is also available to purchase for those who’d like a suggested reading list (organized by country) and a huge map to keep track of which countries they’ve already hit.
Book-loving moms deserve freebies, too!
Reading rewards aren’t just for kids! I’m a bit of a bookworm and love freebies, too. If you feel the same way, you’ll want to make note of the following offers:
- My Reader Rewards – Earn points for completing a variety of easy tasks (sharing tweets, answering polls, joining email lists). Exchange points for free books and Bibles. It’s fast and easy. You can purchase books with as few as 10 points. Use my referral link, and you’ll earn your first 25 points just for signing up!
- Christian Audio – This generous company offers a new, free, full-length audiobook download every month, including new releases of best selling authors like Gary Thomas, Michael Hyatt, Kevin DeYoung, and Tony Evans, to name just a few.
- More Free Books – Here are a few more of my favorite sources for free books, whether you prefer print, digital, or audio.
- Reading Challenge for All Ages – Download our this free printable and challenge your spouse or child(ren) to see which of you can read a book from all twenty-six categories first. There’s one for each letter of the alphabet.