Growing up, I loved summertime. It meant less required reading and more fun reading. I even had a favorite loquat tree in my backyard that I would camp out in for hours at a time. When I wasn’t at the pool or at a friend’s house, I would climb the tree with my backpack of snacks and books and munch on the fruits from the tree while having a grand old time all by my lonesome. We always had library books and purchased books around the house (both of my parents are readers), so spending my free time with my nose in a book was par for the course.
Sadly, not every kid has the same access to books that I had. Even many of the kids who make it to the library can’t afford to build up their own home library, which is a good thing to have at home for a whole host of reasons, such as improved academic achievement. Luckily, there are a lot of great summer reading programs that offer free books and other prizes to kids as a means of encouragement, and I’m happy to share them with you below. Keep in mind that all programs are time sensitive and freebies are available while supplies last.
Free Books and Gear
Barnes & Noble
Chuck E. Cheese’s
Download any of the 21 themed calendars (such as daily chores, reading rewards, and sports rewards) and mark off the days kids reach their goals. Once you complete the calendar, you can redeem it for 10 tokens.
Pottery Barn Kids
Read 8 books from the recommended list and get a free book. They also have character events and PBS KIDS giveaways and events at participating locations. Learn more about it by visiting their site.
Raffles and Sweepstakes
Read 5 books and get entered to win prizes. You can also join the Instagram scavenger hunt. Learn about their programs here.
Scholastic has a variety of summer programs, one of which is a challenge. Kids log their reading time and are entered to win sweepstakes, prizes, and virtual rewards. They also have a lot of great resources for getting kids excited about reading.
Sylvan’s summer reading program, Book Adventure, is for kids K-8. Kids can take quizzes for the books they read and earn prizes for their hard work.