To me, summer has always been about catching up on all those books I didn’t have time to read during the rest of the year (and I have a TON to catch up on, due to health issues these past few months). As a kid and teenager, it was time to read what I wanted to read, and not books assigned to me by the school.  We didn’t have all sorts of cool summer reading programs back then, I just read because it was fun. Jake loves reading too, and would do it even without incentive, but he’s like me and also loves to have a specific goal to work towards. If your child needs a little incentive to pick up books this summer, or just likes working towards a specific goal, these programs may be beneficial.

Scholastic Summer Challenge

Last year, kids participating in the Scholastic Summer Challenge logged a whopping 64,213,141 minutes of reading. Scholastic is hopping to break that record this year, and the top 20 schools will even be featured in the Guinness Book of World Records. Kids can earn digital rewards, including downloads and badges when certain goals are reached, as well as entries into bigger prizes, like a Harry Potter Box Set.  Children sign in to their account to log their minutes. For younger children, I suggest parents do this step.  The Scholastic Summer Challenge parent’s site offers tons of tips, book lists, and more to help encourage reading. Those with an iPad, iPhone, or Droid phone can download a Reading Timer app to help keep track.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

Barnes & Noble summer reading program encourages children to read by allowing them to work towards getting a free book. While you have to actually visit a brick and mortar BN to redeem your prize, you have until September 4th to get it done. If you don’t live near a BN (mine is about a half an hour away), you can always complete it and keep it in your purse for when you’re traveling near one. Your child simply needs to read eight books to qualify for a free book. Chart their progress on a cute Imagination’s Destination reading journal that you can print out. Don’t forget to check out the exclusive kit filled with activities to encourage imaginative thinking and get kids excited about reading.

Chuck E Cheese’s

Your children can earn 10 free tokens by reading every day for two weeks straight and checking off their progress on the Reading Rewards Calender. Since every game takes just one token, that’s 10 free games in their arcade. Sign up for coupons and stretch your money even further. You can usually combine coupons. I do one reward calender, a coupon for pizza and token combos, and one for more tokens. I can usually get a meal for four people and over 100 tokens for under $40 if I time it right with the coupons.

Local Library Summer Reading Programs

My local library (Eastern Monroe Public Library) holds summer reading challenges for kids, teens, and adults. This is my favorite because every so many minutes of reading gets you entered to win prizes. Last summer, I won a tote bag filled with books, a gift card to Panera Bread, a certificate to a local restaurant, a mug, and other goodies. The summer before, I won a Subway gift card. Prizes and programs vary, but if you do just one summer reading program this year, I recommend checking to see what your local library has to offer.