2014 Summer Reading Program Incentives


Sometimes we could all use a little incentive. Luckily, there are a lot of summer reading programs that provide one for children. I’m talking, fill in a reading journal or write a short book report and receive prizes of one sort or another.  Know of a program that isn’t listed?  Please let me know in the comments section and I’ll update the list.

First stop: your school, homeschool co-op, local public library and DOD-MWR Library Installation, and place of worship.

Next stop: one of the local businesses in the list below

Book Stores and Suppliers:

  • Scholastic – help set a new world record with their Reading Under the Stars program!!!  They have book lists for different reading abilities, a timer app you can download to keep track of reading time, and weekly challenges and rewards.  Runs from 5/5 to 9/5.
  • Sylvan’s Book Adventure – read books from their online book lists, go to the website for quizzes on the books to earn point to earn prizes ranging from temporary tattoos and candy to a 3-month Highlights subscription, books, and CDs.  Runs year-round.
  • local, independent bookstores – they don’t all have programs, but many do, and it’s worth calling, asking, or checking out their website
  • Barnes and Noble – my personal favorite, because you can keep going back and getting more prizes.  Pick up their journal in a store or print from their website, read 8 books, and choose from a list of free books.  They have books in different age groups, and you simply go to the kids section of the store, choose one from the summer reading program rack, take it to the counter and pay no money.  As I said, the great thing is they have encouraged me in past years to have my kids keep reading, and to bring back as many journals as my kids will complete, and keep getting free books.  If you have an early reader, they can still participate even though they aren’t in K yet.  Runs through 9/2.
  • Books A Million – Read 6 books on their list of books, return the journal, and get a free Theodore Boone Pencil Case and Pencil (the main character in John Grisham’s kid books).  Runs through 8/16, while supplies last.
  • Half Price Books – Read 300 minutes in each of June and July and receive $5 gift cards for each month.  The child will also be entered in a drawing for a $20 gift card.  Runs through 7/31.
  • Tyndale Media Center – read 5 Christian-centric books from their lists and write 5 reviews on sites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and you can choose a free book to receive in the mail.


  • TD Bank – Grades K-5, read 10 books, return the journal, and they will reward you with $10 in a new or existing Young Saver account.  Runs through 8/31.
  • CapCom Federal Credit Union – Kids up to 12th Grade can earn $3 per book read, up to 5 books.  They run the program again in the winter.  In order to receive the money, children must submit (as age appropriate by their standards) a picture or short summary of the book.  Must be a CapCom Member to participate.  Runs through 9/15.


  • Pottery Barn Kids – Kids under 10 who read all the books on one of their reading lists get a free book.  Runs through 6/17.  You can also go meet the characters of PBS’ SuperWhy on special event days.
  • American Girl – Less of a reward program than a source of ideas, quizzes, in-store events, and more.  Runs through 8/26.
  • HEB H.E. Buddy Summer Reading Club – Read 10 books, mail in the form, and receive prizes (it looks like you may receive a t-shirt).  There is no fine print on the form requiring you to live near one of their grocery stores.  Runs through 10/1.


  • Chuck E. Cheese – Earn 10 Chuck E. Cheese tokens by filling in one of their charts, including a reading chart that requires reading each day for two weeks.  Ongoing.
  • Pizza Hut’s Book It Program – read 5 books and complete an Instagram scavenger hunt to earn chances to win prizes.  There are lots of printable activities sorted by title of picture book or chapter book.  Runs through 8/15.


  • Showcase Cinemas – read a book, write a report on their form, and bring to a cinema for free admission to special Wednesday showings of kid-centric movies.  Siblings under 6 and parents may accompany the reader for free.  Runs through 8/13.

Other Resources:

  • Latinas4LatinoLit – Read 8 books, and be either a Freemium of Preemium member by 7/17 and receive prizes and be entered into drawings for some really great rewards (including a ChromeBook!).
  • NEA – tips, resources, and graded book lists.

Summer – Scraboggle

Scraboggle 1

The complete set up for Scraboggle

My kids got out of school on Friday and were adamant yesterday morning that we have “school” at the usual time. Complete with recess. I’m not one to say no to a desire to learn, so I pulled some tasks out of my always-stocked box of activities. We started the day with Bingo (nothing like reinforcing number recognition with the younger one), then pulled out some rocks we had gotten at a museum. I had both kids draw several of the rocks in their summer journals, and then we took turns looking them up. Littlest one ended up reading about the deepest desert in the world (happens to be in Ethiopia, where he was born). My older kid wrote and my younger kid dictated descriptions of the rocks, and some fast facts about them after we identified what type of rock/mineral they were. Huge success, with some reading, writing, art, and science thrown in the mix.

This morning, my son came running out of his room telling me it was time for Moveable Alphabet. For those not versed in the bizarre methods of Montessori, Moveable Alphabet involves using letter tiles to spell words, focusing on phonetics and phonemes. Ever the mother of invention, yours truly went to the game cabinet and pulled out two games we have accumulated from yard sales: Scrabble and Boggle Jr. I set up the Boggle cards so the picture was showing and the word was hidden. I then had my son use the Scrabble tiles to spell the words. He was fabulous. You can see in the picture that there were a few missteps. I copied them into his summer journal, with notes about phonemes he had missed. Behold, the new game of Scraboggle.

For example, “aw” was spelled o-w. I asked him to read what he had spelled, and he immediately realized it was sow, not saw. His hand kept flying to his face to make the “aw” sound and to try to recall what vowel came before the w.

Another interesting one, to me, was can (as in tin can). My son would say it to himself and listen to me, but he kept hearing a “d” at the end of the word. I let him misspell it, and when he pulled the card out to check we talked about why it was can instead of canned (that is, why there was no “d”).

Finally, he tried to spell bus as “bhs.” I tried having him read it back to me and he slowly read “b-huh-s.” I asked him what the H says, and he said “huh.” “Please watch my mouth,” I said, and mostly exhaled to say hhhhhh. That said, he corrected bhs to bus.

I hope this inspires you to use existing games and resources you have at home to keep your kids engaged and learning this summer. I’d love to hear about what you come up with. Happy reading!

Cards and Tiles for Scraboggle

Completed word list for Scraboggle, with sounds to work on