5 Fun Summer Reading Programs for Kids

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These fun summer reading programs for kids will help prevent summer slide. Keep your kids motivated to read all summer long with these simple reading challenges, fantastic summer book lists for both kids and moms, and great tips for making time to read this season.

A young girl reads a picture book during summer break.

For the last several years, my girls and I have participated in our local library's summer reading program for kids.

They earn simple rewards and it gave us an excuse for a weekly trip to the library to freshen our stash of picture books and early chapter books for kids.

If you haven't tried a summer reading challenge with your kids, I thought this list of reading programs might help inspire you and your family to read a little more this season.

But that's not all. If you really want your kids to read more this summer, learn what you can do to keep them motivated and get all the best book suggestions to get you through an epic summer of reading!!

Jump to:

The Best Summer Reading Programs for Kids

5 fun summer reading programs for kids (and their moms, too!)

1. Your Local Library

We've done our library program every year.

We're lucky to have one that features a web site dashboard for logging the books and simple rewards like Wendy's coupons and free books.

Be sure to check out your library system to see what they offer.

For friends in the Charlotte metro area, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library system has their own challenge.

2. Barnes & Noble

For kids in grades 1 - 6, Barnes & Noble offers an in-store reading challenge where your kids can earn a free book.

If you stop by your local store in May, they usually have a free printable reading tracker available in the children's books department.

Fill it out over the summer and bring it back to the store for your reward.

3. Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

We are big Scholastic book fair fans and happy to participate in any reading challenge they offer!

Unfortunately, I don't think just any student can sign up for this reading challenge on their own but it looks like it could be a great program if your school has signed up to participate.

Double check with your teachers to see if your school is participating and then you can sign up here.

4. Create Your Own

Even if you've signed the kids up for one of the other challenges on this list, why not make it a little more fun at home?

You can set up your own Mom's Summer Reading Challenge for your kids.

Check out this adorable free printable book log idea here. Use it as a guide to set your reading goal and how you plan to count each book.

Will it be by pages read? Books finished? Minutes spent? You know your child best.

Pro Tip: I still do this every summer with my teens, we just adjust the prizes at the end of the challenge to make it something that motivates them a little bit more!

5. Little Kid Book + Activity Challenge

For the younger kids, Melissa & Doug partnered with Brightly to create a fun printable reading challenge that features activity ideas based on books for you to do with the kids.

Get the printable here.

Summer Book Lists for Kids

Now that your kids are motivated to read more for their reading program challenge, what books are you going to have available??

Here are a few of our favorite summer reading lists for kids:

Summer Book Lists for Moms

Listen, "do as I say and not as I do" is not the best parenting strategy, right?

If you really want your kids to participate in a summer reading program, the very best thing you can do is lead by example.

This summer, be sure you are making time to read for YOU, too! If you really need help with motivation, print this FREE book bingo card for adults and use it to create your own Parent Summer Reading Program!

If you want your kids to grow up to be readers, show them how reading can be an important part of your grown-up routine.

Make time to sit down and let them see you reading a copy of one of these fantastic summer books:

How to Make Time for Reading

Just like young moms are told to nap when their babies are sleeping, moms of all ages should read while their kids are reading, too!

Pour a glass of lemonade, rinse a bowl of fresh berries, sit down and enjoy yourself for 15 minutes. Not only will you be happier, your kids will learn this vital habit, too!


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