Free Summer Reading Programs for Kids + Free Books

Each year when the school year ends, I look for summer reading programs to ensure that my kids are continuing reading all summer long! There are so many free and fabulous programs that offer great incentives, foster a love of reading, and create enthusiastic, lifelong readers. Encourage your kids to keep reading cool books on those hot summer days with one of these fun, free summer reading programs.

Free Summer Reading Programs

Barnes and Noble
Fill out the Summer Reading Journal and bring to your local B&N store. Choose a FREE BOOK from the selection on the Reading Journal list at the store.

Half Price Books
Feed Your Brain – program for kids ages 14 and under. Log 300 reading minutes or more, bring reading log to local HPB store, and claim Bookworm Bucks on or before August 30, 2018.
Summer Book Binge – program for teens. Read any of their designated titles, write a short review, and earn HPB Bookworm Bucks.

Meatheads Voracious Readers Program
For kids ages 13 and under. Read 5 books, fill out their voracious reader certificate, and earn 1 free lil’ meathead burger. West and southwest suburban locations include: Elmhurst, Frankfort, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Oak Lawn and Willowbrook.

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
Kick-off summer reading with their free resources! From book lists to reading logs, Scholastic will get kids all set for a successful summer of reading. Check out the videos on their website featuring read alouds with favorite authors and animated book excerpts!

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Pottery Barn Kids Book Club
Join them every Tuesday at 11am during the summer for readings, activities and more. Become a Pottery Barn Kids Book Club member and receive a special surprise after attending five of their events.

BAM! Books-A-Million
Choose any 4 books from the Summer Reading Adventure section in stores or online. Write about the books read in the Summer Reading Adventure notebook. Share completed notebook with a store associate and receive free pencils and pencil case.

Chuck E. Cheese Reading Rewards
Download and print reading rewards calendar. Read every day for two weeks straight and bring in completed calendar to receive 10 free tokens.

Barefoot Books Summer Reading Club
Free resources, book lists and activities suited for children as young as infants through kids aged 8 years and beyond. Sign up for their Summer Reading Club, and receive a kid-friendly reading log and special Kindness Kingdom Book Report to track this summer’s adventures, a recommended reading list highlighting books to build kindness in children, fun club activities and more!

Book It Program
To help increase reading time during the summer months, this program brings kids summer reading activities. Learn more about the books and download the activities associated on their website.

SYNC Free Summer Audiobook Program for Teens
Free summer audiobook program for teens 13+. SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads a week – pairs of high interest titles, based on weekly themes. Sign-up to get notifications when the free audiobook downloads are available.

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Book Adventure from Sylvan
Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success. Start your reading adventure today! Note: this program will be ending on June 30, 2018.

Neighborhood Public Libraries
Local libraries are a great starting point for summer reading programs. In the past, my kids have received all sorts of fun incentives from our local library in LaGrange Park such as coupons to use at area restaurants and even tickets to a minor league baseball game!

Ways to Get Free Books

Check out these smart ways to get free books for your Kindle (app or device) or E-Readers!

Overdrive Check out free books from your local library for your children (and yourself), must have a library card to use this app.

ManyBooks Free and discounted books for your E-Reader or Kindle.

OHFB (One Hundred Free Books)

Amazon Free Children’s eBooks

Be sure to check out the Kidlist guide to the Best Libraries for Kids – there are many amazing resources offered in your town or one nearby.

And, if your kids are in a book rut, try our Favorite Kids Books list for a little inspiration.

Do you have a summer reading program that you love not included in this list? Leave us a comment below with the details!

About the Author

Jill Borkowicz
Jill is thrilled to be sharing her insight and knowledge of local fun on Kidlist! As an Oak Park native, Jill and her husband settled in La Grange Park in 2007 and couldn’t be happier with the community they call home. Raising two lovely daughters, ages 8 and 10, Jill is always on the lookout for cool things to do as a family. She is passionate about yummy food, an organized abode, creative entertaining, frugal finds, travel adventures, a healthy spirit, and overall family fun. Jill’s favorite wintertime activity with the fam? Ice skating followed by hot chocolate! Summertime family favorite? Long pool days with friends that end with a BBQ!

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