Reading Freebies for Summer!

Teachers want your kids to keep reading during the summer.  For some of you, that’s probably easy, but for others, it might be like pulling teeth.  If only there were some free summer reading incentive programs for your children!

Never fear, there are! Bribery is an awesome tool in the parenting tool kit 😉 

We’re not here to judge.

Here’s a great list of ways to keep your child reading throughout the summer!  

1. Prince William County Library’s Summer Quest Program is always a great option.  TEENS CAN GET VOLUNTEER HOURS, but there are reading programs for both younger, elementary, and middle school children to earn rewards for reading books.  For older children, be careful not to let them get discouraged as this program is by number of books, not time spent reading or that you read in a given day, so if your child picks up War and Peace, they’re not going to make it to 20.  In the past, rewards have included swim passes for local water parks like Splashdown in Manassas or Water Works in Woodbridge, Kids in Motion and House of Bounce passes, free slurpees or ice cream, and more. Online registration for this program begins JUNE 1, 2012 and if it’s like last year, you cannot sign up in person anymore, so be sure to register before you go.  All Prince William County Libraries, both Regional like Chinn Park Regional Library and Bull Run Regional Library to neighborhood libraries like Dale City and Independent Hill participate.  

2. Books A Million will have a Kickoff for their Summer Reading Program on Saturday, May 19th.  The Prince William County Books A Million is located inside Potomac Mills Mall.  This event includes a free cookie with drink purchase, and a free insulated lunch bag when you participate in the Books A Million Summer Reading Program. 

3. TD Bank (which used to be Commerce Bank.  Sorry, TD, but I miss Commerce desperately).  has several locations in our area including TD Bank Woodbridge near the Kohls, TD Bank Dumfries on Route 1, and TD Bank Manassas on Liberia Avenue.  All branches, however, will be participating in their $10 for 10 Books program.  Children fill out a form with the 10 books that they’ve read, and TD Bank will deposit $10 into a new or existing youth savings account. Cash Money.  Awesome.  The TD website also includes several ideas for making reading more fun.

4. Barnes and Noble will allow children to earn a free book for every 8 books they read and record in their reading journal.  Their website also includes parent and educator kits to make reading more fun. To pick up your free book, you’ll need to head to Fair Lakes or Seven Corners, but there are some great field trips (or malls, mommy needs love, too!) at each stop. 

5. Pizza Hut’s Book It Summer Program isn’t quite the same as school-year Book-It, but sounds fun anyway.  Students who were in grades K-6 during this school year can go to the Book It Summer Reading Challenge Sweeptstakes and enter to win a Diary of a Wimpy Kid Summer Prize Pack when they’ve completed reading 5 books.  Other parents suggest continuing Book It at home by continuing to provide a personal pan pizza to your child when they’ve read the requisite number of books.  The prize pack includes books 1-5, 2 DVD movies, a tote, plush, and $20 Visa Gift Card.  50 winners will be selected from among the online entries. 

6. Sylvan Learning Centers Summer Book Adventure Program allows children to track their pages and then take quizzes (very similar to how Accelerated Reader or “AR” works) and collect points.  Then they have the chance to win prize incentives using their points.  Sylvan is also sponsoring a “Page Per Day Sweepstakes” where parents who pledge to read a page per day with their child can enter to win $500 for back to school expenses. 

7. iVillage and PBS have teamed up to give you a Summer Reading Challenge.  Sign up now on their website and you’ll get weekly reminders and chances for your reader to win $1,000 or other great prizes all summer long. The 6-week program begins June 18th. 

8.  Need more Word Girl than iVillage is giving you?  Scholastic (yes, the people who bring you those send-home book orders and twice a year Book Fairs where your kid wants to buy wiggle-eye pencils) has a program called the Scholastic Summer Challenge.  Kids read books, log hours, and win prizes.  Being Scholastic, they’ve also got sections for parents and educators, too! 
9. Chuck-E-Cheese Reading Rewards will give your child 10 tokens for reading for 2 weeks.  Just put a check mark on each day that your child reads (keep it on the fridge or a bulletin board) and bring it with you to the CEC nearest you.  PS- Chuck also offers bribes for things like tooth brushing, keeping your room clean, being a good patient/citizen, using table manners, and just about any other common childhood ailment 🙂 

10.  Don’t forget your child’s school!  Many schools require a certain amount of reading and might even ask for a project or journal to be kept.  If your school has a summer reading requirement, make sure you know before September!  Also, some schools (depending on the principal/program) offer a special treat for children who read during the summer like a pencil or certificate, so know your school’s programs and prepare accordingly!

Am I missing something? Email me and I’ll add it to our list!