Summer Reading Freebies

Think you can't pay your kids to read this summer? Think again.

As the school year ends, moms brace themselves for that battle cry of those newly freed from their classrooms. Wait for it….it won’t take long….

“I’m so bored!”

In my house–which is full of kids and empty of wallet—I try to find some cheap ways to keep the kids entertained. Not an easy task, but fortunately a little research pays off big when it comes to boredom-proofing your summer.

First go to the top of the list—the reading list, that is. Your kids will probably bring home an extensive list of books to read over the summer, many of which can be found on the shelves of the West Deptford Library.

Of course, the last thing kids want to do over summer vacation is something that feels a lot like homework. So, to make a game of it, I dig up a bunch of reading rewards programs to give my kids a bit of incentive. The season is young, but so far I’ve found these great programs:

  • Both Barnes & Noble and Borders are giving away free books for summer readers. At Barnes & Noble, kids who read eight books and log them on their Imagination’s Destination Reading Journal (available in-store) can choose from a selection of age-appropriate titles. Borders is offering the Double Dog Dare Challenge for readers under 12. Read 10 books and get a coupon for a select title free.
  • Kids can score a free T-Shirt by reading 10 books before school starts. The H.E.Buddy Program (application and details here) promises prizes, including the shirt, for those who read their quota before Oct. 1—but don’t let your little procrastinator know that!
  • Chuck E. Cheese offers free tokens for kids who complete a two-week reading calendar – and you can go back every two weeks, all summer long! Get your calendar here–and check out their other rewards calendars, which will score your kids tokens for things like cleaning their rooms, sleeping in their beds all night and even for stopping some nasty habits (nose picking, anyone?).
  • Saving the best for last–tell your kids that TD Bank will pay them to read this summer. Just log 10 books in the bank’s summer reading form, and your child can have $10 deposited into his existing Young Savers account. Don’t have an account? Your child can open one and have the $10 deposited. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with some summer math to go along with the summer reading, right?

And while you’re checking out books, check out the summer reading programs at our own West Deptford Library. Certificates, prizes and (yum!) ice cream are up for grabs for summer readers.


Click here to read Mary Lebeau's latest Vignettes column on musings on summer.

Diane Pickles June 12, 2011 at 01:10 AM
Very informative. Should inspire kids and parents to get busy with books!


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