FREE Summer Reading Programs ~ 2012

Guest Post from Rachael of Surviving on a Tight Budget

One of my favorite parts of summer is getting to spend time with my children. I love that there is no homework to do when I pick them up from camp or daycare.  I love that sometimes I have them home with me all day.

However, having your kids home more also means finding things for them to do. On a tight budget, this can be difficult and expensive. Taking outings every day can also be exhausting.

Thankfully, reading is always a great activity. To get your kids excited about reading and help them earn some cool prizes and rewards, why not join a Free Summer Reading Program?

These incentive programs are also a great way to help bridge the summer gap in learning and retention.

Here are some suggestions for programs your family can participate in:

  • Local libraries – Find out if your municipality library has its own summer reading program (for kids and/or adults). This makes it very convenient for redeeming logs for prizes. Our local library even hosts different events throughout the summer for kids and parents.
  • County or city library system – In St. Louis, the county has its own set of libraries that are separate from the municipality library from our town. This system has its own summer reading program. One of my older son’s teachers had a representative come to their class to speak about their program and he is very excited. What a great idea!

To find a United States public library near you, visit the Public Libraries website.

  • Scholastic Summer Challenge – Ask your child’s teacher about participating in this national reading incentive program. The teacher signs up their students and then students can log in on their own to record books read, etc. Parents can find tips, booklists, and logging tools on the website as well.
  • iVillage PBS KIDS Summer Reading Community Challenge – Starting June 18, families can get daily emails with literacy tips and activities. Participants will also get book suggestions, discounts, and free downloads of PBS KIDS shows. There will be daily chances to win $1,000 and other prizes.

  • TD Bank – For those of you who have a TD Bank near you, they also have a summer reading program. If your child reads 10 books, he or she can earn $10 to be deposited into a new or existing Young Savers account.
  • Sylvan Book Adventure – Children in grades K-8 can choose recommended books, take a quiz, and earn points redeemable for prizes. This program is FREE and you do not need to be enrolled at a Sylvan center.

  • Book It! Summer Break Reading Challenge – From June 15 to August 15, kids who were in grades K-6 during the 2011-2012 school year and who read five books, will be eligible to enter this sweepstakes. The prize is a “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” summer fun prize package. There will be 50 winners. The website also contains fun activities for kids, parent and teacher printables, online games, book information, and more.

Rachael Kornblum is a teacher, blogger, and scrapbooking consultant from St. Louis, MO. She writes Surviving on a Tight Budget, a blog about saving money, protecting the environment, and keeping kosher. She focuses on tips that can be used any time. If you are looking for cheap ways to get books besides borrowing from your library, check out her posts: My Favorite Find – Swapping Books and Items You Don’t Always (And In Some Cases Shouldn’t) Have to Pay For.


  1. Readers – so you know, there are a few other summer reading programs that many articles listed as being available last year like Pottery Barn Kids, Barnes & Noble, and a few others. The information for this year has not been published yet. Check back at my website for more info as it becomes available! Thanks, Mara, for letting me guest post!

  2. The ones that were not confirmed as of this post can be found at Thanks for reading!

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