Summer Reading Programs for Kids!

A summer reading program encourages children to explore books and keep those all-important reading skills fresh while school isn’t in session. For kids who love reading, a summer reading program’s a great way to earn small prizes for doing something they enjoy anyway, while those same prizes offer an incentive for children who need more practice reading, or who you’re trying to encourage to read more.

Local Library Programs

Your local library probably offers some type of summer reading program. Library programs have the advantage that your children will have their choice of multiple books, and may be able to attend the program with friends. Prizes and incentives may include coupons to local businesses or attractions, raffles, stickers, and, of course, books.

Online Reading Programs

If your schedule makes regular trips to the library impossible, or if you just want to supplement the library’s’ program with some extra incentives, many businesses offer online reading programs. Incentives vary depending on the organization, and often take the form of coupons or freebies that can be redeemed online or at the business’s locations.

DIY Reading Programs

Of course, it’s always possible to design your own summer reading program. All you need are age-appropriate books, a means of tracking which books your child reads, and some incentives.

Determine how many points your child receives for each book. For instance, they might receive a point for each book, with ten points awarded for chapter books. Track their progress on a brightly colored poster board where you can note down the names of any books read with stickers to indicate how many points the child earned.

Offer themes for each week of reading. One week’s theme might be animals, the next week could be friendship, and so on. This way, when you take children to the library, they get to practice searching for books on specific topics.

Incentives depend on your child’s interests. Every week, children can put the points they earned that week towards a small prize. Keep weekly incentives small-you want to save the larger prizes for the end of the program. Possible rewards include:

  • Playdates with friends
  • Staying up late
  • Choosing a weekend family event
  • Personalized stickers
  • Small treats or candy
  • Time on computers or video games.

Offer larger rewards for the end of the summer reading program, and set the total amount of points needed to earn each prize. Vary the number of points for each reward, so earning a final prize is attainable by each child. Possible rewards for the end of the program include:

  • Personalized books
  • A gift certificate to a local store
  • A meal out at a favorite restaurant
  • An activity the child really enjoys
  • A toy the child will work to earn
  • Coloring books
  • Trips to the zoo, water park, or other special attraction.

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