Some kids don’t need any incentive to lose themselves in a book, during the summer or any other time. If your child isn’t a natural bookworm, try enticing them with one of these FREE summer 2021 reading programs from public libraries, bookstores and retailers across the country. There’s even a program that offers free audiobooks for teens all summer long!
Start with your local public library and independent bookstores. Then check out these reading programs for summer 2021. None will cost you a dime, and most offer prizes for kids who complete the programs.
- Camp BOOK IT! The familiar school-year reading program from Pizza Hut has a summer counterpart. Kids ages 4-12 can receive a coupon for a personal pan pizza every time they hit their reading goal from June through August.
- Barnes & Noble Summer Reading. Students in grades 1-6 read any eight books and record them in their reading journals. Bring the completed form to a local Barnes and Noble and get a free book.
- DOD Summer Reading Program. Children of military families can participate in the Department of Defense summer reading program at bases and military installations worldwide. Activities will vary depending on location.
- Half Price Books Summer Reading Camp. Participants get reading rewards each month for turning in a reading log at the end of June and the end of July. Families who submit reading logs for multiple children receive a $5 coupon each month that can be used in store by every child. Rewards are only to be used during their designated month, so make sure to use them before they expire.
- Showcase Cinemas Bookworm Wednesdays. Kids get free admission to a select children’s film on Wednesdays at a participating Cinema de Lux, Showcase, or Multiplex when children bring in a book report. (Parents of participants get free admission too.) Children under 6 years old can get in free without a book report. National Amusements has theaters in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island.
- Scholastic Summer Reading. After creating an online account, kids can join a community of readers and will be able to read books and stories; attend weekly author events; interact with their favorite characters; play book-based games and activities; and more. Kids will be able to track their summer reading by maintaining a Reading Streak. The longer a child extends their reading streak, the more digital experiences they earn.
- Sync, sponsored by AudioFile Magazine and powered by OverDrive’s Sora student reading app, is designed for teens 13 and older. It provides two thematically paired audiobooks for checkout each week, for free, to every registered listener, for 14 weeks. The list of paired readings is a great resource for anyone looking for options for young adult reading.
More free reading resources
These aren’t reading programs, but they are great free reading resources for kids:
- Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Parents of children under the age of 5 who live in eligible zip codes can sign up to receive a free, high-quality book each month.
- Free Sesame Street eBooks. Bright, colorful online versions of books featuring kids’ favorite Sesame Street characters.
- Barnes and Noble Free Online Storytime. A great selection of entertaining children’s books read by authors and celebrities. Barnes and Noble also has a kids’ club that offers discounts and rewards.
- Storyline Online. Members of the Screen Actors Guild read popular children’s books.