Summer reading programs have introduced my children to some faithful companions. Jack, Annie, Percy, Harry, Frank, Joe, Amy, Dan. These are just a few of the friends my children have made over the summers through reading. They’ve even hooked me in too. “Don’t read ahead,” they’ll say as I tuck them in and continue turning pages.
Awesome Summer Reading Program Freebies (plus book recs)
Each summer several organizations offer incentives to get children to read. My favorites are the ones that give you books as a reward. We’ve been introduced to some of our favorite series through these summer reading programs. Series like the Magic Tree House, Percy Jackson and 39 Clues.
Below are 11 summer reading incentive programs for kids, plus some book recommendations for them and you!
Summer Reading Incentive Programs
Summer Reading at the Library: Most local libraries have a summer reading program with prizes for kids who complete a certain number of books. Our local library has offered prizes of books, milkshakes and even kids meals at the local Chick-fil-A. I may or may not often snag the Chick-fil-A milkshake coupon for myself. Ask at your local library, or go to Georgia Libraries for information.
Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. Scholastic has a summer reading challenge where kids read and then go online to record the minutes they’ve read this summer. They’ll also be able to take weekly challenges to earn rewards. You may also want to check out the Scholastic Book Sale over the summer. You can get lots of Scholastic favorites at discount prices.
Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program. Students in grades 1-6 read eight books and receive a FREE book from a pre-determined list.
Books a Million Summer Reading Program. Books a Million is partnering with author James Dashner, the author of the Maze Runner series (my son has read them all and loves them) on their summer reading program. Unlike other programs, this one has specific reading lists to choose from. Read any four books from the Summer Reading Challenge lists that are broken up by age, and receive a receive a free maze runner series water bottle. You must present your completed series in the store in order to receive your water bottle.
- Books-a-Million Kids Summer Reading Challenge Book List: Wonder, Where the Red Fern Grows, Holes, The City of Ember, The Watson’s Go to Birmingham, Hoot, Bud Not Buddy, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Indian in the Cupboard, Stargirl, 365 Days of Wonder, Ginger, Chomp, Because of Mr. Terupt, The People of Sparks, The Fourteenth Goldfish, and When You Reach Me.
- Books-a-Million Teen Summer Reading List: Everything Everything, The Book Thief, The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas, All the Bright Places, Eragon, Fallen, The Alchemyst, Of Beast and Beauty, Everyday, The Magician, Calamity, The Sorceress, I Am the Messenger, The Enchantress, The Warlock, Seraphina, The Necromancer, and Another Day.
Chuck E. Cheese. To incentivize your kids to read, promise them one of these printable Chuck E. Cheese bookmarks for every book they read. On each bookmark is a coupon for five free tokens at Chuck E. Cheese. To find the bookmarks, look in the Activities and Downloads section.
Junie B Jones Reading Club. For the Junie B Jones fan, this reading log is a fun way to track your progress through the book series.
Sylvan Book Adventure. Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success.
A Local Bookstore. If you have a local bookstore nearby, ask if they offer a summer reading program for kids, chances are, they do! Little Shop of Stories is an independent children’s bookstore in Decatur, Ga. that offers a summer reading challenge for kids to read 40 hours. Children receive prizes for each 10 hours they read. In addition to summer reading programs, the Little Shop of Stories has year round story time every week. (Tues. at 11 am, Thurs. at 7 pm and Sun. at 3 pm) The store also has events centered around popular children’s books, including series for tweens.
Summer Reading Programs Specific to Atlanta
Free Digital Books. Get free digital books through Get Georgia Reading: Through a partnership between Get Georgia Reading – Georgia Campaign for Grade Level Reading and myON, all educators, librarians, students and parents in Georgia have free access to over 8,000 enhanced digital books from myON through August 30th.
Six Flags Read to Succeed. This program is run through the schools, so you’d have to talk to your child’s teacher during the year in order to participate. The scoop – kids K- 6th grade who participate in six hours of recreational reading receive a free ticket to Six Flags. Before you go, check out our advice on ways to beat the lines at Six Flags.
Check it Out Reading. Kids grades K-12 read five books and receive a bookmark and youth ticket to an Atlanta Hawks game. The Check It Out Reading program is available online.
Good Summer Reads
The following are some of our favorite books, and or series. Since I have boys, these skew a little male, so if you have others or ones that girls in particular like, let me know and I’ll add them.
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By Eugene Kim via Creative Commons
Books My Children Wanted Read Again and Again When They Were Little
Great Summer Reads for Kids and Young Adults
Best Summer Reads for Adults
When I was preparing to leave on my summer vacation, I asked my Facebook friends for some good book recommendations. Here is what they said. I’m planning to work through this list as my summer beach reads too.
Our Favorite Books in Movie Format
Bill Gates Summer Reading List
Apparently Bill Gates is quite a reader. And he reviews the books he reads on his website. Each year he releases a summer reading list. Here are the books on this years list.
How to Score Free Books
Free Books for Young Children. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a program that mails children a free book each month from birth up until 5 years old. The program is only available in certain areas. To find out if there is one in your city in Georgia, contact the Georgia regional director Christy Crouse at firstname.lastname@example.org
Free Books for Teens. SYNC makes available two FREE audiobook downloads every week, to each and every registered listener, all summer. In 2017, 32 titles geared toward teens that will be given away through the 16 week-long season. Teens, librarians, club leaders, and educators may sign up for email or text alerts and can learn more at www.audiobooksync.com. To participate, download the OverDriveApp to your device of choice. Then go to the Sync website each Thursday after 7 am EST to download the new audiobook for that week. The title is only available for that week, so make sure to download it. Once it is downloaded, you can list to it whenever you like.
Free Books for Adults. The OverDriveApp is great for adults too. Download it to your favorite device and you can borrow digital books from your local library. Note: You will need your library card to complete the application.
Kindle Books. A Kindle is a great way to pack a lot of books for a long ride or a vacation without taking up a lot of space. Right now you can join Amazon Kindle Unlimited for a 30-day FREE trial. Then for just $9.99 a monhth, you can read over 1 million ebooks and listen to thousands of audio books free!