Posted Jun 05, 2020
For many kids, the end of the school year signals the beginning of a long 'summer slide' or 'summer brain drain' -- the loss of academic skills and knowledge that takes place when kids aren't actively engaged in learning at school. Decades of research show that kids lose between one to three months of grade level equivalency in reading and math skills over the summer. The interruption of in-person learning due to COVID-19 puts kids at risk for even bigger losses this year.
One of the best ways to combat summer learning loss is to get your kids to read. While we all wish our kids would pick up a book for the simple joy of reading it, many kids find it difficult to motivate themselves to read without the structure and built-in incentives that school provides. This is where summer reading programs come in, providing that extra push kids need to make reading a habit over the summer.
Amazon's Summer Reading Challenge
Kids in grades K-8th grades can earn a free book by reading any eight books over the summer. Kids must keep track of the books they read and bring their completed book list to their local Amazon Books store by September 2, 2020. After completing the challenge, your child will receive a Star Reader Certificate and their choice of a free book. Click here to find your local store.
Barnes & Noble's Summer Reading Program
Children in grades 1-6 can earn a free book by reading any eight books over the summer. Kids must fill out a Summer Reading Journal with the book's title, author and their favorite part and bring it to a Barnes & Noble store between July 1 and August 31, 2020. Find your local store here.
Books-A-Million Summer Reading Adventure
Books-A-Million has teamed up with beloved children's author Dav Pilkey of "Capital Underpants" and "Dog Man" fame for this summer's Reading Adventure program. Kids can earn a free Dog Man logo baseball cap by reading any four books from BAM's Summer Reading Adventure section in-store or online and keeping a log. Kids must show their completed log to a store associate to receive their reward. Find your local store here.
Chuck E. Cheese's Reading Rewards Program
Kids can earn 10 free Chuck E. Cheese's Play Points for reading every day for two weeks. This promotion is valid all year round, but requires a food purchase to redeem. Click here to print the reading rewards calendar.
Pizza Hut Camp BOOK IT! Program
Pizza Hut has enhanced its BOOK IT! Program this summer in response to the challenges of COVID-19. The first ever Camp BOOK IT!, combines fun summer activities like backyard scavenger hunts and backyard games with reading and will be available all summer long. All you have to do is register for Camp BOOK IT! and track your child's daily reading progress. When your child meets their reading goal each month (automatically set to 20 minutes/day, 5 days/week), they will receive a certificate by email for a free Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza!
Scholastic Summer Read-A-Palooza
Scholastic has launched an all-new experience for 2020. This year, kids can build their avatar, make new friends, earn virtual rewards, and help unlock donations for kids with limited or no access to books by starting and keeping “reading streaks” in Scholastic Home Base when they read every day over the summer. The 2020 program dates are May 4 - September 4.
SYNC for Teens
Summer audiobook program for ages 13+ that gives away two FREE complete high interest audiobook downloads every week throughout the summer based on weekly themes. Titles are available via Sora, the student reading app from OverDrive, and are available for download for a period of seven days only. Titles change over every Thursday at 12 a.m. ET and are available until the following Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. ET.
TD Bank Summer Reading Program
Encourages kids in grades K-5 to read by depositing $10 into a new or existing TD Simple Savings account when they complete their own ten-book reading challenge. Kids must show their completed TD Bank Summer Reading form (note: this form has not been updated for 2020 yet).
NMAAHC Summer Reading Challenge 2020: "Reading Through the Galleries"
The National Museum of African American History and Culture has launched a new self-guided, virtual reading challenge for third through 12th-grade students this summer to read books related to themes of African American history. Each month through August, the museum will share a booklist with book-related enrichment activities highlighting the museum's three thematic areas: history, community and culture.
Your Public Library
Most public libraries offer a free kids summer reading program with activities and incentives. Be sure to check with your local branch!
Design Your Own!
Start With a Book offers free summer reading and learning resources for parents aimed at warding off the learning loss that many children experience over the summer months. They offer engaging ideas for getting kids hooked on reading, including 24 kid-friendly topics featuring specific ideas for using books and related downloadable activities and practical suggestions for using reading time to build a child's reading fluency. They even offer the option to sign up to receive weekly text messages with great summertime ideas for reading, writing and hands-on fun. Simply text READING to 41411 from your mobile phone to sign up. Use their resources to design a summer reading rewards program that fits the needs of your child and family!
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