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2010 Summer Reading Programs: Fun & Freebies

Ah, summer at last! School’s been out for a few weeks, baseball’s underway and camps are lined up. It’s time for swimming, vacationing, fun in the sun and… reading!

That’s right. If you haven’t already, there’s still time to sign your children up for a local—or national—reading program. They don’t have to be registered in order to read a few good books this summer, but some of the fun, FREE programs available might inspire them to read (or be read to) even more.

Libraries participating in the Collaborative Summer Library Program are displaying “Make a Splash–Read!” and related activities on their websites, T-shirts, posters, bookmarks and more. In addition to your library’s summer program, check out what local and national bookstores are offering as well.

Those who are really enthused can sign up for multiple programs. Our kids are hoping to complete the local library program after two or three weeks and then start on one across town. After that, we’re planning to participate in some of the national options listed below.

Note: to go directly to each site’s reading program information, click on the store’s name in the headline. For general store information, click on the website address at the end of each section.

Summer Reading at Barnes & Noble

According to the Barnes & Noble website, children will receive a coupon for a free book from B&N’s list if they do the following: read eight books, record information about those books in a B&N Passport to Summer Reading and submit that Passport—with a parent’s signature—to any B&N by September 7, 2010. Download a free Passport, view the list of available freebies and get more details on their website. (www.bn.com)

’10 Summer Reading Double-Dog Dare at Borders

“Read 10 books, get one free!” proclaims the website of Border’s summer reading program. Children 12 or under can read any 10 books, list them on Borders’ Double-Dog Dare form and submit that form to any Borders, Borders Express or Waldenbooks store by August 26, 2010 in order to choose a free book from one of the selected titles. (www.borders.com)

Feed Your Brain at Half Price Books

If you have one of these stores near you, there’s still time to earn $12 in Half Price Books (HPB) Shopping Cards between now and July 31, 2010. Children 14 and under can earn one $3 HBP shopping card for each week they read at least 15 minutes per day prior between June 1 and July 31, 2010. Reading Rewards are available only at HPB locations (currently in 16 states), and the limit is one card per week per child. (www.halfpricebooks.com)

Summer Reading Club at Schuler Books & Music

This summer reading program isn’t available on a national level because the company’s five stores are all located in Michigan, but I’m showcasing it here for the sake of Michigan residents and to illustrate how some local booksellers provide exceptional programs well worth investigating.

The main points of Schuler Books & Music’s Summer Reading Club are as follows. Children in grades K-8 may participate by reading any age-appropriate books and using a Schuler’s form to list the title and number of pages of each book. Completed levels, which include 20 books and are signed by a parent or guardian, should be submitted on the form by August 31, 2010. Readers earn one $5.00 Schuler Books & Music gift certificate per level, and each child can earn up to three cards total. Summer Reading Club forms are only available in stores. (www.schulerbooks.com)

If your kids are completely enthralled with the Magic Tree House series, check out the summer reading program at Books-A-Million. Otherwise, focus your time on the other, more flexible programs that don’t limit them to one author.

Help your children explore new worlds this summer, even if you never leave town. Grab a book, and start reading!

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