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Summer Reading Programs

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Summer Reading Programs

Just say no to the summer slide! Next to the benefits of playing and swimming all day long, reading is just about the most important thing kids can do this summer. Plus digging into a great book under a sun umbrella, preferably poolside, is one of the joys of the season. One of the popular summer hobbies for kids is reading. Reading helps with comprehension, vocabulary, critical thinking skills, and much more.

A number of summer reading programs for kids help keep the learning going over the next few months, allowing them to earn free goodies along the way. These free summer reading programs encourage kids to read by offering them small incentives, such as free books, to keep reading.

Here are our picks for the best summer reading programs for kids in 2023.

1. Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is a fun and easy way for kids to foster their love of reading and earn free books. There’s a wide variety of free books available for kids from the Barnes and Noble summer reading program. Kids can earn a FREE book after they read eight books and log them on the downloadable reading journal. Only one book is available for each child who completes a reading journal, and the choice must be made from the selected books available at the store

There are many free books to choose from and there’s something for every kid in grades 1-6. Free books are divided into categories for Grades 1 & 2, Grades 3 & 4, and Grades 5 & 6. The Barnes and Noble summer reading program website also has educator activity kits. These kits include fun activities about reading that can be completed with a child.

Download the B&N 2023 Summer Reading Journal today!

2. Books-A-Million Summer Reading Adventure

Kids can get a free Because of Winn-Dixie notepad and pen with the Books-A-Million summer reading program! This year’s summer reading adventure is led by award-winning and critically acclaimed author Shannon Messenger.

The Summer Reading Adventure gives kids a great reason to read while they’re out of school for the summer. There is also a longer-range goal: to help young readers connect with books in the hopes of instilling a lifelong love of reading.

Start off by reading four of the 75+ qualified books. After reading each book, they will write about it in their Summer Reading Adventure logbook.

No summer reading program is complete without a prize. Once they have finished the challenge, participants can show their completed logbook to an associate at any Books-A-Million or 2nd & Charles store and be rewarded with a pencil case inspired by Shannon Messenger’s Keepers of the Lost Cities series.

Learn more: Books-a-Million Summer Reading Adventure

3. Scholastic Summer Reading Program

The Scholastic Summer Reading program offers kids an exciting, free, and safe summer reading experience, while helping to provide books to kids with limited or no access over the summer, keeping every child reading. From May 9 through August 19kids can visit the summer zone in Scholastic Home Base, a completely free digital destination which offers stories, characters, games, and a community of readers. This year the summer program includes a virtual platform called Home Base with author interviews, games, and more!

Kids will be able to track their summer reading by reading every day and maintaining a Reading Streak™ in Home Base. By keeping Reading Streaks™ in Home Base, kids will help unlock a donation of 100,000 books from Scholastic to Save the Children.

Learn more: Scholastic Summar Reading

4. Reading is Fundamental Summer Program

Soar with reading while summer is out with Reading Is Fundamental, the nation’s largest children’s literacy non-profit. From RIF reading lists and a collection of free ebooks to interactive materials on Literacy Central and a brand new Literacy Central app, RIF helps kids master the reading skills they need to succeed.

Reading is Fundamental provides summer reading ideas for students in grades K-6, including book lists, activity sheets, and monthly reading calendars. Each time your child reads a book and learns about a new destination, they color in a section of the map.

Learn more: RIF Summer Reading Road Trip

5. Chuck E. Cheese

With the Chuck E. Cheese kids’ summer reading program, kids earn 10 FREE play points each time they read for two weeks in a row. Simply track progress on these printable incentive charts by marking the days off with a pen or sticker as your kids accomplish their goals, then bring in a completed calendar or behavior chart to Chuck E. Chuck E Cheese’s also offers reward programs for practicing sports or music, achieving healthy eating goals, good behavior, potty training, and more.

Complete the form to claim the free tokens. A food purchase is required.

Learn more: Chuck E. Cheese Kids’ Summer Reading Program

6. Half Price Books Summer Reading Camp

The Half Price Books kids’ summer reading program, a.k.a. ‘Summer Reading Camp,’ hosts gift card giveaways on social media for kids who read for at least 300 minutes during the months of June and July. The online summer reading program website also features printable coloring sheets, online storytimes, and mystery book recommendations for ages ranging from preschool to teens.

The Half Price Books summer reading program for 2023 is called Summer Reading Camp and it runs from June 1 to July 31, 2023. The reading program is for kids 14 years of age or younger, in 8th grade or under.

Learn more: Half Price Books Summer Reading Camp

7. Public Libraries

Check your local library for more free kids summer reading programs with activities and incentives for all ages. Most libraries also have storytimes and other reading-themed activities. Staff recommends contacting your local branch to find out when they will be giving away books this summer.

8. ScholarWithin Summer Reading Program

The summer reading program is in demand. This means you can do it on your schedule at home. The program is step-by-step with video instruction. They have different levels for grades K-8 to meet your child where they are over the summer months. Spelling and reading levels can be adjusted independently.

Each day, your child will do a quick reading fluency activity. This activity just takes 5 minutes and works on your visual processing skills, eye-tracking skills, and rapid automatized naming skills.

Learn more: Scholar Within Reading Program 2023


Join BOOK IT summer camp to encourage reading all summer long. Track kids’ reading for the summer months in their digital dashboard. If they meet their monthly reading goal, kids then receive a free Personal Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut! They will also share fun activities and book recommendations each week to keep the fun going throughout the summer! You can use their free summer resources to help beat the summer slide.

Learn more: Camp BOOK IT

10. Amazon Books Retail Stores Summer Reading Challenge

Amazon Retail stores will give young readers a Star Reader certificate and a $1 coupon off their next book purchase at Amazon Books if they read any 8 books over the summer.

The Amazon Retail Summer Reading Challenge program is for students in grades K-8.

Looking for a great summer read? Check out our list of Best Reading Apps for Kids. Plus, check out these summer learning apps.