The summer brings lots of free time–a great time for kids to be reading! Encourage them with these Free Summer Reading Programs.
**UPDATED FOR 2023**
Happy Summer! Summer is filled with lots of time at the pool, playing with kids in the neighborhood, and plenty of fun. But most of us want to keep our kids reading for pleasure and to keep up for next school year.
These FREE summer reading programs at stores nationwide (and online) are just the incentive to keep kids motivated.
Free Summer Reading Programs
Save even more money by using your public library to borrow books instead of buying them. Just set up a weekly visit with your kids, and ask your children’s librarian for book recommendations if you get stuck. That’s the best free summer reading!
Barnes and Noble
Kids in grades 1-6 who read 8 books and record them on the Summer Reading Journal can head to a Barnes & Noble store to pick out a FREE book from their selection (you’ll see the choices on the journal).
The program runs through August 31st, and the limit is one FREE book per child.
Read 4 books from the Summer Reading Adventure section, record them in the printable notebook, and bring it into the store to get a FREE BooksAMillion water bottle.
Chuck E. Cheese
Year-round, Chuck E. Cheese offers 10 FREE Play Points to kids each time they read for 2 weeks in a row. Download and print a Reading Rewards Calendar (there are others if you’d like to reward another activity).
Limit is one calendar per child, per day. Food purchase is required.
Half Price Books
Readers 18 and under can participate in Summer Reading Camp by registering and reading in June and July to earn $5 Bookworm Bucks each month. Then, visit the store in July and August to spend those Bucks.
If there’s no store near you, kids can still participate online with the reading list, activities and digital stickers.
The Camp Book It! site offers a digital dashboard to record kids’ reading in June, July and August. Each time they meet their monthly reading goal, kids earn a FREE one-topping Personal Pan Pizza.
Scholastic offers a FREE online reading program through September 7th called Summer Reading Home Base. Kids can sign up and log their Reading Streak to earn digital rewards and help donate books to kids in need.
You can download suggested book lists for all age groups and on different themes. Learn more with their parent guide.
In July, kids receive FREE admission to Bookworm Wednesdays movies when they present a completed book report. Children under 6 do not need to complete the book report, and accompanying adults also get FREE admission. No food purchase is necessary, but you do need to make a reservation.
Through August 2nd, teens 13 and up can get two FREE audiobooks per week. Each paired set can be downloaded using OverDrive (the same app my library uses for ebooks and audiobooks).
Your Local Library
Be sure to check out your community library system for programs this summer. Ours is great! When the kids complete their reading log, they receive a coupon booklet with coupons for free mini-golf, ice cream, water park pass, and more. We use it every summer for lots of frugal fun!
Looking for more free fun?
- Free and Low-Cost Summer Movies for Kids
- Get Rolling with Free Summer Bowling
- Printable Summer Word Search
- Printable Summer Scavenger Hunt