8 Awesome Summer Reading Programs in 2024

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Get great, updated ideas about summer reading programs that are happening now. Free reading incentive programs for 2024 are here, and they’re not just for kids! Give kids and adults a fun summer of reading and earning rewards by choosing a summer reading challenge with interesting summer reading activities. Avoid the summer reading slide and take a look at what these free summer reading program ideas have to offer. As a school librarian, summer reading programs are especially important to me. Keep your kids reading over the summer by joining one or more of these summer reading programs available in your area.

Getting the Word Out About Summer Reading

Over the weekend, I was working to put together a list of fun summer reading programs and freebies for the students at my schools. Suddenly, I realized there are probably a lot more people out there who would like this information. There are even programs for teens and adults, with many prizes and giveaways to be had. Read on for the latest information.

best summer reading programs

Why is Summer Reading Important?

According to recent research cited in the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, kids who have access to books during the summer avoid a drastic loss in reading skills.  You probably already knew that, so read on for a list of my favorite free summer reading programs to keep kids (and teens and adults) reading!

Fun Ways to Promote Summer Reading

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There are many ways to make reading fun in the summer. You can read in a tent or read with a flashlight under the stars. Read in a hammock. Get a fun t-shirt to promote reading in the summer. The summer reading theme at many libraries in 2024 is going to be “Adventure Begins”.

Offer your own reading incentive rewards, such as a trip to the pool or a day at the beach. There are many possibilities for making reading a fun habit.

Public Library Summer Reading Programs

The first place to check is your local library. In my area, the public library offers a reading challenge log for kids to fill out and prizes for log completion. When kids complete their reading challenge, they will get a whole boatload of prizes. Usually, the prizes include a free book, a free ticket to an NBA game, a ticket to our state fair, and a coupon for our local amusement park. When my boys participated, they scored other prizes as well, such as a scooter, a sleeping bag, a mini-stereo, and a remote-controlled speedboat. It was not difficult at all to get them motivated to read! The library in your area may be doing something different, so check with your local library for details. Our library will post more details and have everything ready by the time school gets out in June.

Teens and Adults Can Score Prizes Too

Many public libraries also offer reading programs for teens and adults. The teens usually have some type of reading log as well and prizes selected with teens in mind. For adults, the programs vary. One year, I played Book Bingo all summer, and filled in boxes for different literature genres on a bingo sheet. It was fun because it forced me to read books I wouldn’t have chosen otherwise. Poetry? Biographies? I read them all just to fill up my sheet, and I ended up with the grand prize! It was a gift card for dinner at a local restaurant and two tickets to the local movie theater. Score! My husband and I had a terrific date night.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I won again last summer. The activity was writing short book reviews, and the prize was a Kindle. It seems a bit unfair, since I am a school librarian, and I read a lot of books. What could be better? I get to earn prizes for doing what I love. However, I think I’ll give someone else a chance this year. Here are some fun cozy mystery series and historical fiction ideas to get you started. These make great relaxing reads for the beach or a summer afternoon anywhere.

Barnes and Noble

Another opportunity for a free book awaits with the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program. Click on the link to get a summer reading journal. To earn a free book, kids read eight books and record a few details about each book in the reading journal. Bring the completed reading journal into any Barnes and Noble store in between July 1 and August 31, 2024.

Books-a-Million Summer Reading Adventure

Is there someone in your household who is a big fan of the Dog Man or Captain Underpants books? Exciting news! Dav Pilkey, the author of the series, is the Summer Ambassador for the Summer Reading Adventure at Books-a-Million. To earn a free bookmark and pencil pouch, kids just need to read at least four books from the store’s Summer Reading adventure section, then fill out a summer reading logbook. The book list features excellent titles that would make great additions to any kid’s home library collection.

BookShare Summer of Audio 2024

Perfect for summer reading, the BookShare website offers real human voices reading titles for kids and teens who have visual impairments or who are physically unable to manipulate a book. Qualifying students may sign up for an individual account, or teachers may sign up to offer the free audiobooks to qualifying students.

Half Price Books

At Half Price Books, kids can earn rewards by keeping a reading journal and logging minutes read. Register when it opens and keep track of your reading all summer long. To find a store, click here.

Pizza Hut Summer Reading Program

If you are a fan of the Pizza Hut Book It reading rewards program, this might be of interest to you. Emails are sent out with weekly reading activities for kids. To sign up, visit the Pizza Hut site.

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Schools and individuals may sign up for the free Scholastic Summer Reading Home Base. Parents can help their kids sign up to participate independently. As kids read and log their minutes online, they can access digital rewards. Other rewards include book excerpts and videos. Keep checking back on their website to see when they update for 2023.

Showcase Cinemas Bookworm Wednesdays

Kids can get free admission to selected kid-friendly movies at Showcase Cinemas on Wednesdays during the summer. To get free admission (also good for one adult who accompanies the child), turn in a book report (click here for a free book report form). Watch for the 2024 update, if not already posted.

best summer reading programs

What is Your Best Strategy to Encourage Kids to Read During the Summer?

Have you gotten some good summer reading program ideas from today’s post? If you wish to choose just one summer reading program to get involved in, it seems to me that the public library offers the biggest return on investment of your time, at least in my area. Many of you may have your own favorite summer reading strategies to share. I’d love to learn about them! Getting kids into reading books is one of my greatest joys.

Another fun way to help kids stay sharp with their skills over the summer is to get home access to IXL, which is used by many schools to help students practice skills in a variety of subjects, including reading and math. Here’s a special offer.

Have fun exploring summer reading programs and helping kids avoid the summer slide!

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Lisa Mitchell is a wife, mom, and school librarian who likes to use her job as an excuse to stay up far too late reading books and noodling around with tech tools. To learn more about what this website has to offer, click on over to the Book Tips page.

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