Helping Imaginations Soar this Summer

Summer reading programs for kids of all ages.

Summer reading.

(New Africa /

Schools out for the summer, let the reading begin. The importance of keeping kids reading books over the summer cannot be overstated. There are many reasons besides giving school-age children something to do on a rainy day.

Summer reading will keep kids from losing valuable skills over the months that school is not in session, according to The American Library Association, and it can help develop lifelong readers. Since many summer reading programs have activities or awards (including pizza!), this could help introduce reluctant readers to the world of books and help their imaginations to soar.

There are summer reading clubs and programs from toddlers to teens and everything in-between. From story time to digital books, these activities can keep kids engaged in reading books. Here are just a few.

Barnes & Noble
This US bookstore has curated a list of 100 summer reads for kids of all ages, according to the blog We Are Teachers. Kids, grades 1-6, that participate can earn a free book after they read eight books. The kids keep a reading journal of all the books they finished. You can download the journal and summer reading list here.

Reading Is Fundamental
The largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the US, RIF,  wants kids to unleash their imaginations by taking the summer reading pledge. The first 200 families to join will receive a free book that is featured in the organization's summer collection. The books in the collection will allow kids to read about new and exciting places.

Scholastic books can be enjoyed when school is out in the company’s online reading program, according to the company. The participants can read about adventures, build an avatar, earn virtual rewards, and help unlock donations for kids who do not have access to books. The program runs through September 7. Sign up at the Scholastic Home Base and update your own “reading streak.” The more books a child reads, the more digital experiences he or she can earn.

Pizza Hut’s Camp BOOK IT!
This iconic pizza chain is encouraging summer reading in its Camp BOOK It program, according to We Are Teachers. The kids who participate can track their reading in their own digital dashboard. If they meet their reading goal, the kids can receive a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. Find out more here.

Summer Reading at Your Public Library
Libraries are a great place for kids to participate in summer reading programs. Ranging from story time for tots to reading challenges for teens, your public library can provide books and programming all summer long.

In New York City, the public library has summer reading programs for kids and teens. Take the 60-day reading challenge, attend special events, and even enter the annual summer writing contest. The librarians have curated a large number of inspiring books for all ages.

Across the country, the San Diego public library hosts the discover your voice summer reading program.  Kids who complete a combination of reading hours, activities, and have completed 10 books receive prizes. The prizes run from kids’ meals to museum passes. The program runs through August 31 so there is still time to enroll online.

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