10 Summer Reading Programs for Kids in 2017

We are nearing the end of another successful school year--and facing a few months of summer vacation.  While my girls love to read; I know that the many other activities of summer pull pretty hard on the kids--especially after a long school year.  I know that it is very important to keep those books open during the summer months--and I love finding summer reading programs that reward the kids in some way for keeping those books open!  Today, as part of our summer learning activity series--I wanted to share 10 of my favorite summer reading programs for kids for our 2017 summer!

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program.  For a number of years, readers in grades 1-6 have been eligible to earn a free book in exchange for reading 8 books and completing Summer Reading Journal entries for each book.  Readers may learn more on the Barnes and Noble website--and download a Summer Reading Journal. 

Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program at Half Price Books.   The summer reading program at Half Price Books is open for kids 14 and under (so those middle school kids can join this one!)  Readers read and log minutes over the summer--and earn Bookworm Bucks (a store coupon) for every 300 minutes read.  Readers may only submit one reading log per month during June and July--and the Bookworm Bucks expire at the end of August.

Join the Summer Reading Program at your Local Library.  Most community libraries offer some sort of summer reading program for children, teens--and even adults in some cities.  Our Columbus Metro Library offers an annual program where participants read to earn coupons, free books, and raffle entries for larger prizes like bicycles.  Library programs usually have options for all ages--but, if your teen is hesitant to sign up with the "little kids"--many libraries also offer volunteer opportunities where teens are able to read and mentor younger readers over the summer months.  Volunteering as a reading tutor serves double duty as the teen is more likely to pick up a few books of his/her own during the library visit--and it helps teens fill service hours for school programs.

Book Adventure.  Book Adventure is a website for kids in grades K-8.  Offered by Sylvan Learning, readers search for books, read them offline--then return to take a quiz and earn points for prizes. This site is similar to the Accelerated Reader format--and I always liked it to keep the kids in the habit of taking quizzes on readings during the summer! 

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge 2017.  Readers sign up either individually or as part of a school/community team to earn virtual prizes and sweepstakes entries for real prizes.  Readers read offline and log time online for prize entries.

Books A Million Summer Reading Challenge.  Participants in the 2017 challenge will receive a Maze Runner Water Bottle after reading 4 books and submitting their reading journal to a BAM store employee.  This one is open to children and teens--and teens may be more interested in James Dasher, this year's BAM Summer Ambassador and the water bottle!

PBS Kids Summer Learning.  While not necessarily just a summer reading program, the PBS Kids website is loaded with summer learning activities for preschool and younger aged readers--and a ton of ideas for making reading fun over the summer months.  Readers aren't signing up and aren't going to earn prizes--but, the site offers a wealth of resources and ideas for parents seeking to keep learning activities on the front burners during the summer months for younger children!

Pottery Barn Book Club.  This is more of a summer book club for families of younger children.  Pottery Barn Kids stores in select locations host weekly storytimes and events for families.  After attending 5 in-store events, Pottery Barn Book Club Members receive a special surprise.  

The New York Times Summer Reading Contest for Teens.  This year, the New York Times has launched their 8th Annual Summer Reading Contest for Teens.  This contest combines reading and writing as contest participants must both read The New York Times--and submit a written response to a Student Opinion question answering two questions: What interested you most in The Times this week? Why?  These questions are available each week--and readers are encouraged to read and respond weekly for the opportunity to have their winning response published.  While a subscription is not necessary--you may find it useful to allow your teen access to more articles each month.

Check with your Child's School.  While we hope that parents are always made aware of summer reading programs available and encouraged in a child's school district--that is, sadly, not always the case.  Maybe the teachers have summer reading lists or summer reading journals--or are even members of large community reading challenges or programs.  It's easy to miss a sign up sheet or a half page note in the child's backpack! So do not hesitate to ask! Our school district is home to 5 elementary schools--and each one does its own thing for summer learning.  Some schools have nothing going on--but, other schools have a very enriched plan for summer reading, writing and math activities.  Check with your child's teacher(s) --but, also take a look at the websites for schools around you too for events, online resources, websites, activities and more.

...and a Bonus Tip....Watch the local newspapers, local coupon packets, and check out flyers at the local library for family owned businesses in your area sponsoring short, summer reading rewards programs.  We have participated in local programs offering free bowling, free museum admissions, and even free pizza packages at small, local restaurants in exchange for a reading log or a reading journal.

It's not impossible to incorporate 15-30 minutes of non-cell phone reading for the kids this summer!  Plan now--sign up for a few of these summer reading programs, print out journals or reading logs--and get organized for each day's reading time!  You (and your children's teachers) will be glad that you did when fall rolls around!

We were not compensated for items, links or recommendations within this post.  This is simply part of our Summer Learning Blog Series--and we wanted to share some of our favorite summer reading programs with you!

You may check out our growing Summer Learning Activities for Kids Series here..

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