Summer reading programs are a great way to entice children to read. Numerous programs exist on national, state, and local levels. Learn the requirements of each, and figure out how to maximize the rewards for their reading. Here are some big favorites, as well as a few lesser known programs in which to enroll your child.
1. Applebee’s Bookworm Reading Club
Children who lives in Upstate NY and Connecticut can join the Applebee’s Bookworm Reading Club. Pick up an entry form at the local library, schools, or order one by emailing [email protected] Children can record the titles of ten books read, then redeem the card for a free meal at Applebee’s (with an adult entree purchase).
2. Autism Asperger Publishing Company
The Autism Asperger Publishing Company is hosting the Sensory Gang Summer Reading Program, “Help Kids Stay Engaged Over the Summer.” The program runs from June through August, and is geared toward those on the autism spectrum, ranging from high-functioning and Asperger’s, to non-verbal or limited verbal abilities.
A reading log of books for children with autism is available by age level. All of these books can be purchased through the AAPC website, for a 20% discount, with coupon code SUMMERREADING10. Some books also contain discussion questions. Completed reading logs are then submitted to the publisher, to be redeemed for a $25 AAPC gift card.
To register, fill out the online form. Watch for email notifications and study guides.
3. Barnes and Noble Summer Reading: The 39 Clues
Barnes and Noble is basing this year’s reading program on the popular 39 Clues series of books. Children read and comment on 8 books this summer. When they have completed the passport for reading, which is available from the website, or by picking one up in the children’s section of the store, they are eligible to receive one free book. Each form is also an entry into a contest to win a free autographed copy of The 39 Clues. This program runs from May 25 until September 7, 2010. Only one entry per child is allowed.
The Books-A-Million bookstore chain is holding a summer reading program that features the Magic Tree House series of books by Mary Pope Osborne. Download and print out the Magic Tree House Passport to Adventure and keep track of which books you have read. Then visit MagicTreeHouse.com to answer questions and collect stamps to fill in the passport. Submit your own photos of the child with the printable Jack and Annie Travel Pals. Children ages 7-12 can enter the essay writing contest for a chance to win their very own treehouse.
5. Borders Summer Reading Double Dog Dare
Children ages 12 and under keep trackof their summer reading on a special downloadable form from Borders. Once they have ten books listed, they can turn in the form at any Borders, Borders Express, or Waldenbooks store to redeem it for one of ten free chapter books. Titles include Ramona the Brave, Miss Daisy is Crazy!, Flat Stanley, Dear Mr. Henshaw, The Ruins of Gorlan, Hoot, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Johnny Tremain, The River, and Kristy’s Great Idea.
6. Catholic Summer Reading
The Aquinas and More Catholic Goods store is sponsoring a special reading program based on the Catholic faith. It was originally designed to keep adults in tune with their faith, but has now expanded to include both children and young adults. On the Catholic Summer Reading website, find a list of suggested titles for teens, and one for children. Download the children’s summer reading form, on which can be listed 10 Catholic books. The child then colors it in, including name and address, as well as parent signature. One entry per child can be redeemed for a special prize. Another special prize will be given to the best coloring job. For complete details, visit their website.
7. Children’s Mystery Books
2010 is the Year of the Children’s Mystery Book, and to celebrate, the website is holding a Mystery Meltdown Summer Reading Program. The goal is to see how many pages kids can read between now and August 1, 2010. Each page read equals one degree, and is to be marked on the thermometer template. Books borrowed from local libraries get to count double.
Then, on August 1, 2010, visit the Contact Us page to let them know how hot your summer was! The person who reads the most pages wins a “spooktacular” prize and becomes known as the “Summertime Sleuth.”
8. Chuck E. Cheese
Chuck E. Cheese provides numerous incentive programs for kids. Take advantage of the Reading Rewards calendar, which can be redeemed for every two weeks that your child reads on a daily basis. One incentive chart can be redeemed per visit, for ten free tokens. Purchase of pizza is also required. Visit the Chuck E. Cheese rewards center.
9. Friendly’s Restaurants
Some Friendly’s restaurants are sponsoring programs that allow your child to earn free food and ice cream. Check with your local Friendly’s location and at your local library for more participation and details.
10. Half Price Books: Feed Your Brain!
Half Price Books stores are offering children $3 for every week that they read at least 15 minutes per day. The Reading Rewards program is for children ages 14 and under, and lasts from June 1 through July 31, 2010. Pick up an entry form at any Half Price Books store or download one from their website. Parents/guardians sign off that the child has read for at least 15 minutes at least five of the seven days in a week, as well as verifying the list of books read. The completed form is then turned into the store. Only one form per child per week is permitted.
11. H.E. Buddy Summer Reading Club
Children of all ages are invited to join the H.E. Buddy Summer Reading Club to earn a free t-shirt. Print off the flyer, and record ten books that the child reads. Parents/guardians must initial next to every book listed. Add the child’s name, address, and t-shirt size, then send in the form. T-shirts arrive within 3-4 weeks.
12. Lifeway Christian Stores: Summer Reading Race
Children can visit a local Lifeway Christian Store to receive a punch card for the Summer Reading Race. Receive one punch for each book purchased and read between June 5 and July 31, 2010. For every 5 books, the child receives a special prize, then a new punch card. The punch card also serves as a 15% off coupon for repeated use through the summer. Check out their suggested summer reading list.
13. Make a Splash at local libraries
Libraries across the nation often band together to provide a common theme for all of their local summer reading programs. This year’s theme is “Make a Splash” for grades K-6, with a corresponding “surfing” theme for teens. Some libraries are even extending the program to include infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Visit your local library for explicit details on their programs, and to sign up. Different libraries within the same county may provide slightly different versions of the same program. These are also often sponsored as state programs.
14. McDonald’s Check It Out!
Some McDonald’s locations are offering free Happy Meals to kids who read a certain number of books. While this initiative was originally in the New York tri-state area, others are starting to adopt the program. Check with your local franchise to see if they are offering it.
15. National Amusements Bookworm Wednesdays
National Amusements movie theatres are letting kids see free movies as a reward for reading. Children must fill out a book report form for each book read, and bring it with them to the theatre on Wednesdays, starting on July 7th, until August 11, 2010. Movies are shown at 10 a.m. Parents/guardians accompanying the child, as well as children under six years of age, also get in for free.
16. New York Times
The New York Times is inviting students ages 13-25 to read the NYT online or in print, and to comment on any articles, columns, podcasts, etc. The best posts will be featured in a special blog on a weekly basis. On Mondays, from now through the end of August, write a response (up to 400 words) on the weekly post entitled, “”What Interested You Most in the Times This Week?” A full description of privacy details and more can be found on the announcement blog post.
17. No Time for Flash Cards
No Time for Flash Cards is a website dedicated to giving children real-life, fun educational experiences, that go beyond mere rote memorization of facts. Their first summer reading program is taking place this year. Parents fill in a form each week, listing the books their child has read, or that they have read to their children. (For those independently reading chapter books, list chapters read.) They also comment on what their favorite book has been. Only one entry per child per week is permitted.
Each week, one winner will receive a free copy of the e-book “Alphabet Crafts.” At the end of the contest, on August 31st, a grand prize winner will be randomly selected from eligible entries, to receive a $15 Amazon gift card.
18. Pizza Hut’s Book It! Summer Break Reading Challenge Sweeps
Children who attended grades K-6 in the 2009-2010 school year are invited to enter for a grand prize in Pizza Hut’s Book It! Summer Break Reading Challenge Sweeps. Simply download one entry form per child, and have him record five books that he has read between June 15 and August 15, 2010. Mail it in to be entered into the drawing for a prize package worth $75. 50 randomly chosen winners, whose entries are received by August 23, 2010, will receive a prize package containing sunglasses, beach ball, beach towel, cloth fun disk, tote bag, water bottle, dive balls, a book, and a $20 Visa gift card.
19. Pottery Barn
Pottery Barn stores hold a Book Club Story Time every Tuesday from 11-11:30 a.m. (Some local stores may have slightly different hours. Call ahead to verify times.) Children who participate receive a special book club card at the first session they attend. After five story times, they receive a special prize.
20. Scholastic Books: The Buzz Garden Game
Word Girl is challenging children ages 3-7 to read at least four books this summer. Sign up for a free account and log all books read independently or together. Each book added to the list will cause a virtual garden to grow. Check out titles on their reading list for children ages 3-7.
21. Scholastic Books: Read for the World Record
Scholastic Books aim to break the World Record by logging the largest number of minutes of reading by children. Those ages 7 and up are invited to participate in the challenge. Visit the Scholastic Summer Reading website, and sign up for a free Stacks account. Log the number of minutes read each day. Chat with friends on message boards and discover new fun books to read. The 20 schools with the highest number of minutes logged on the site will be featured in the “Scholastic Book of World Records” 2011 edition. Check out titles on their reading list for children ages 8 and up.
22. Sports Teams
Local sports teams often like to encourage children to read with contests to win free game tickets and more. Often they team up with local libraries to do so. Check with local sports organizations and local libraries for participation and details.
23. State Senate Programs
Many state Senators have developed programs for their states. Check your local state senate site for details.
24. Summer Reading Program: From Simple Organized Sanity, Personal Child Stories, Mommy Perks, and Kid Perks
Four fantastic websites for parents and children, Simple Organized Sanity, Personal Child Stories, Mommy Perks, and Kid Perks, are teaming up to bring children some fantastic prizes for completing a summer reading program. This contest runs only from June 14 through July 14. You have to download a sheet to fill out for each book your child reads. To get the sheet, you will go through the motions of making a real purchase, without actually spending any money. You will also need to have an account with Simple Organized Sanity, which is free to sign up. Then on July 15-16, email your child’s name, age, number of completed sheets, and mailing address to [email protected] The top 3 readers will win prizes from National Retailers. For more information and tips on getting children to read, visit the blog post on Mommy Perks.
24. Sylvan Learning Centers: Book Adventure
Sylvan Learning Centers sponsor Book Adventure, a program designed to get children to read and to practice reading comprehension. Students can sign up for an account through their teacher at school, or through a home account that is monitored by a parent.
The child chooses from a list of books provided on the Book Adventure site. Once he has read the book, he goes back to take an online quiz. Children in grades K-3 have to answer five questions. Those in grades 4-8 have to answer ten. At least 60% of the questions must be answered correctly to earn points for correct answers. Points can be saved toward special prizes donated by Book Adventure sponsors. The parent or guardian helping to monitor the account will give approval. The “prize” must be printed for either instantaneous download, or to be mailed away. Prizes arrive within 4-6 weeks.
Read the full FAQ.
Sign up online.
25. TD Bank: $10 Reward
Children can earn $10 from TD Bank when reading ten books this summer. The child keeps track of all ten books read, filling out the form on the website. When it is completed, bring it in to any TD Bank location, with a form of ID for each child participating. $10 will be deposited into a new or existing Young Saver account. The offer is only available one time per child. It is available from May 3 – September 30, 2010.
26. Usborne Pledge Drive for MUSC Children’s Hospital
Support a good cause while reading! Usborne books is raising money to support the MUSC Children’s Hospital in Charleston, SC. Even those who do not live in the Charleston area are able to participate. Request for a packet to be mailed to you. Get friends and family to pledge money for each minute that the child reads, with a goal of at least 400 minutes in the three week drive period.
Numerous rewards are available. Those who read 400 minutes receive free books, totaling in value 50% of the money they raised. Those who earned over $100 in pledges also receive a special Kid Kit (crafts, magic tricks, etc.) in addition to their books. Children who log 800 minutes will also receive a free t-shirt, recognizing them as “Star Readers.” Those who read 1200 minutes or more receive all aforementioned prizes, plus a special medal that recognizes them as a “Super Star Reader.”
Visit the website for more details, and to sign up on June 21st.
27. Weekly Reader
Children in grades 1-6 can subscribe to a special summer reading program from Weekly Reader. Weekly Readers are often used in classroom for reading comprehension, as well as a supplement to science, social studies, and current events lessons. Parents pay a $7.99 subscription fee for access to eight multimedia issues from May 18 – September 3, 2010. Additional subscriptions for other children are only $4.99.
Included in the multimedia issues are level-appropriate texts, accompanying slideshows and videos, and follow-up reading comprehension questions. Parents are also given a special Parent’s Guide to facilitate conversation.
Sign up for the program on their website.
So many different programs are available out there! Go through all of them with your kids. Decide which ones in which you wish to participate. Use the same books for multiple lists to maximize the “earning” potential. You can also create your own incentive charts and programs for your kids.