Free Summer Reading Programs to Keep Kids Turning Pages

Depending on your kiddo, summer reading can be a chore. Not sure how to flip the page and get your children into reading? Free summer reading programs can keep kids turning pages—and earning rewards. Using a free summer reading program to reward or entice young readers is a great way to retain their reading skills while school is out.

Want to do more to encourage a love of reading? Check out these great tips from Amy, and snuggle up and read these books about San Antonio together. Looking for local spots to snag some books? Check out Natalie’s great list of local bookstores, and if you need book recommendations to hook your boys on reading, check out this list.

Check out these great local and national free summer reading programs. And, pro tip: you can sign up for multiple programs and fill the summer with fun rewards!

The Twig’s Dinomite Summer Reading

Twiglets, unite and read! If you know The Twig, you know there is nothing better than their storytime to spark the imagination. Twiglets have all summer to read and document their success on their Summer Reading “Dino”Mite Reading Log. For every 10 books read by a kiddo—or read to them—The Twig offers fun rewards and a chance to win one of the $10 Twig gift certificates drawn weekly.

H-E-Buddy Summer Reading Club

t-shirt, crayons, pencils and prizes from a free summer reading program
A past rewards pack from H-E-Buddy.

As always, H-E-B for the win! Read 10 books and record them on your reading log.  Once the log is complete, mail in the form and your reader will receive a package with a special prize from H-E-Buddy. You have until October 1 to read the 10 books and send in the form.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

My son is a bookworm who would spend all day browsing bookshelves if we let him, so Barnes & Noble is a favorite destination to find new titles to keep him busy. And we love the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program, where he’s earned a free book each summer. There’s no sign-up required, just keep a reading journal (en español aquí) and when they’ve read eight books, take it to a Barnes & Noble location between July 1 and August 31 to choose a free book from the titles listed on the reading journal.

Tip: If you pop by a Barnes & Noble, you can pick up a hard copy of the journal. And if there’s not a book on the journal list that inspires your reader, have them select a book they can donate to their school or a reading program like SAISD Foundation’s Book Buddies program so they can share their love of reading.

Half Price Books Summer Reading Camp

Half Price Books is offering its summer reading camp with something for every interest. you’ll find book recommendations, printables, crafts, and fun activities all tied to reading.

Register your kids for Half Price Books’ summer reading program to participate. After you’ve registered, stop by a Half Price Books location to pick up your camper’s Reward Map. When the map is complete, it can be redeemed for $5 Bookworm Bucks in June and July so your reader can add to their library.

Book It with Pizza Hut

Reading with a side of pizza? Yes, please! Ages 4–12 (entering PreK through 6th grade in the fall) can participate in Pizza Hut’s Camp Book It program this summer. The program is open to all families, and parents can set goals, track reading, and reward their readers. When your reader meets their reading goal each month, they’ll receive a certificate for a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut (sent to the parent’s email address). You’ll also receive book recommendations and tips to keep your reader engaged.

Scholastic Summer Reading Program

Through Scholastic Home Base—a free digital community full of books, live events, and games in a kid-safe environment—readers will be encouraged to track their reading streaks to earn rewards, unlock digital experiences, and donate books to communities in need.

An Army brat who came to Texas for college and ultimately managed to make the Lone Star State her permanent home, Dawn became a mom “AMA” (advanced maternal age), giving her the opportunity to use a stroller vs. a walker as she navigates the world of motherhood. Her growing up way too fast native Texan loves all things Star Wars, Legos, dinosaurs and keeping his parents on their toes. When she’s not busy parenting the original strong-willed child, Dawn runs Tale to Tell Communications, a San Antonio-based PR and marketing agency. An award-winning writer, Dawn also contributes to San Antonio Woman, Rio Magazine and Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She and her family enjoy exploring all that San Antonio has to offer, going on adventures and playing tourist together as much as possible. Favorite Restaurant: Clementine Favorite Landmark: The beauty of the River Walk, especially La Villita Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Celebrating anything and everything with color, music and food