Kid Summer Reading Programs & The Forgotten Locket Giveaway Winner

It's sizzling outside . . . at least here in Kansas City it is! As the thermometer rises, our schedule changes. Outside time becomes limited to early morning until noon or early evening until bedtime. But what can you do during those three or four hours when the sun is scorching hot?


Daily reading is essential to help kids maintain the skills they developed during the previous school year. What's that you say? Your kids absolutely, totally hates to read?

That's where some awesome rewards programs come in handy. Let's start with the FREE rewards first.

  • Check out your local library for fun reading programs, book clubs, story time, story telling classes, and free books. And no, I don't mean the ones you can borrow. Many public libraries have programs that if you read a certain number of minutes each day, then you can earn a free book of your child's choice - for keeps!
  • Want some free moolah? Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program is rewarding kids ages 14 and under with $5 if they read a minimum of 600 minutes between June 1st & July 31st. Just print out their calendar, fill out the form, and start keeping track. Reading logs can be turned in between July 25th and August 7th to earn rewards. In each store, the top reader (most minutes read) for each age range will win a $20 HPB gift card. If you have a hesitant reader, remind them that HPB also has games, music, videos, and more for them to put their free moolah towards!
  • I *heart* BN's Summer Reading theme: Imagination Destination. Because really, books take readers to new places and worlds . . . it's an adventure for your imagination. Love it! BN's summer reading program is for kids in grades 1 through 6. The challenge: Read 8 books & write a few sentences about why & who you would recommend the book to. The reward: 1 free book in their grade category reward list.  BONUS REWARD: Each completed journal turned in equals an entry to win a Nook Color. Coolness.
  • Border's Double Dog Dares your kids to read 10 books! Ooh, I'll up that to a triple dog dare!!! You have kids ages 12 or under, they can participate in this fun program. You simply print out the form, fill it out with the books they read, then turn it in for a free book. 
    • NOTE: YOU CAN USE YOUR 8 BN SUMMER READING BOOKS TOWARDS YOUR 10 BORDERS BOOKS. Ooh yeah. It's good to teach your munchkins the art of multi-tasking!
  • Now, if free books or moolah isn't enough to entice your kids to crack open a book. How about free game time? Chuck E. Cheese has a totally fun Reading Rewards program. For every 2 weeks that they read every day, then your child will receive 10 free tokens. This promo does not have an age limit. And hey, this could be a great way to teach your kids to save. If they saved all their tokens for the summer, then they could have a HUGE awesomely fun time to top off their summer fun. But hey, if their like most kids, the combination of those shiny golden gems, the flashing lights, and winning dings will cause wonder-lust to set in. Then there will be no stopping them until the tokens are all gone.
If none of these programs works for your kids, then create one of your own! My oldest son will work for just about anything if the reward includes a $10 Lego toy. Maybe your kids hot button is Thomas trains, coloring books, or McD's $1 sundaes. Figure out what will make your reluctant reader drool, then dangle it out there like a carrot. Just remember to make the effort equal to the goal. My son would become frustrated working for the $10 Lego after about 2 books. So maybe I'll start with 2, then stretch the next goal to 3 books and up the reward to a Lego toy and a sundae.

But the cool thing is he's reading. READING!  (Happy, happy dances!!!)

Now, let's talk about reading materials.

Be sure the books your child reads are appropriate for his reading level. Age doesn't always indicate level. My 1st grader (who is a read-a-holic) reads on a 4th grade level. But the book plots he really enjoys are on a mid-2nd grade level. Now, my oldest son (who has autism) is the opposite. He's on more of a 1st to 2nd grade reading level and he doesn't enjoy reading. But he enjoys either 1) books with pictures - like Garfield & Calvin and Hobbes comic books or anime books, or 2) for mom or a sibling to read to him - in this case, the book needs to be funny.

If the books chosen are the right reading level, then your kids won't become frustrated by words they can't figure out. This is essential so they don't get burned out before summer is even halfway over.

The real reward of reading is the conversations you and your child with have. I love it when my kids tell me about things they thought were interesting, ask me questions about something they just learned about, or can hardly talk because they're laughing so hard about what a character just did. Reading is just plain awesome.

If you have other reading tips or incentive ideas, please share them in the comment section.

And now, a little summer reading love for one of my readers. Thank you to everyone who commented and left questions for Lisa. The winner of an autographed copy of The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum is . . .

Tamera Westhoff

Tamera, please email me your snail mail address. Congrats!

Happy summer reading, everyone!

Would you like to comment?

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Sounds like you have a great summer planned. Much luck with your book.