Summer Reading Programs & Free Books for Kids

Summer Reading Programs & Free Books for Kids

I’ve rounded up FREE literacy resources for parents to get their kids reading. First, I found summer reading programs that your kids can enter to win prizes including free books. Next, I searched for free books — the good kind — and weeded out the weird sites with books that I’ve never heard of. Finally, I found fun literacy activities like book trailers, a site to make your own story book, and a contest to shoot your own 90 second Newbery book movie.

Happy reading this summer! What else do you need to get your kids reading?

p.s. Photos featured are from my Caught in the Act of Reading program. Parents sent me their photos of kids caught reading and I sent them a book. I will continue this program until I run out of books. Just email me your photos at PragmaticMomBlog gmail and I’ll send you a book (1 per family).

kids reading

Summer Reading Programs

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge for kids, educator and parents. Kids:

  • Read & log minutes all summer
  • Unlock stories & earn rewards
  • Enter for a chance to win Klutz books!


Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Triathlon. The Barnes and Noble summer reading program for kids gives kids a free book when they read 8 books over the summer. The choices of books are:

Children in grades 1 & 2 are eligible to receive one of the following books:

  • Detective Camp (A to Z Mysteries Super Edition #1)
  • DK Readers Level 1: Jungle Animals
  • Dr. Seuss: The Great Doodler
  • Jorge el Curioso: El pueto de limonada
  • Mercy Watson to the Rescue (Mercy Watson Series #1)
  • Pet the Cat: Scuba-Cat
  • Pinkalicious and Planet Pink
  • Stowaway! (Puppy Pirates Series #1)
  • The Thrills and Chills of Amusement Parks

Kids that are in grades 3 & 4 can pick out one of these books:

  • The Bell Bandit (The Lemonade War Series #3)
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
  • I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916 (I Survive Series #2)
  • Justice League vs. Bizarro League (LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes Series)
  • My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish
  • Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
  • Stuart Little

Those children that are in grades 5 & 6 can choose from this list of books:

  • The Bravest Princess
  • Chomp
  • Esperanza renace
  • Lea Dives In
  • The Night Gardener
  • President of the Whole Fifth Grade
  • Story Thieves (Story Thieves Series #1)
  • Travel Team

My son is reading to his grandma and the frog he caught.

Jennifer’s son is reading to his grandma and the frog he caught.

TD Bank Summer Reading Program. When a child reads 10 books, TD Bank deposits $10 into their new or existing TD Simple Savings bank account.

Half Price Books Summer Reading Program 2016. For 8th grade and younger. This June and July, read 15 minutes a day. (Grown-ups may read aloud to kids who are still learning.) Use this reading log PDF, add up your minutes and have your parent or guardian initial each week. Once you’ve reached 300 or more minutes, bring your log to your local HPB to claim your Bookworm Bucks.

Sylvan’s Book Adventure Summer Reading Program. Book Adventure is a fun, free way to motivate your child
to read! Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read,
and earn prizes for their reading success such as books, magazine subscriptions, tattoos, candy, CD’s, and games.

Baby Audrie loves to read already!

Baby Audrie loves to read already!

SYNC is a summer reading program for teens. SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+. The 2016 season is May 5th – August 17th 2016. SYNC 2016 will give away 30 titles – two paired audiobook downloads a week!

PBS Kids Summer Reading Camp. PBS and offer a 10 week Summer Reading Camp with themed projects and activities.

Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Pizza Hut has partnered with Candlewick Press to bring you book activities you can download, print at home, and complete this summer.

Pottery Barn Kids Book Club. Each store hosts a weekly story time on Tuesdays from 11:00 am to 11:30 am. After kids attend five story times, they get a free gift. Kids also receive a free book after they finish reading all of the books on the list.

Six Flags Read to Succeed. Read to Succeed is an program that encourages students in grades K through 6 to read for fun. Students who complete six hours of recreational reading earn a free ticket to Six Flags! The program is available to teachers and schools at no cost to participate.

Learning Ally. A national not-for-profit organization serving students with learning and visual disabilities has kicked off its “Summer Reading Together” program –  a unique initiative designed specifically for students with reading disabilities, such as dyslexia and blindness or visual impairment.

Your Public Library. Check out your public library’s summer reading program.

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FREE (good) Books for Kids

Storyline Online. Videos of really good picture books being read aloud.

Amazon’s Free Kids eBooks. The books listed at Amazon are the top 100 best sellers, and they’re updated hourly.

UsTyme. 50 classic e-book fairytales like Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and hundreds more. Kids can read independently, side-by-side with a caring adult or remotely in a live video call using the free ustyme app.

A to Z Kids Stuff. Free Kindle ebooks for children. The books are not well known picture books but there’s a good assortment of books that will be new to the reader.

eReaderIQ. Free ebooks for kids. This has good assortment of chapter books, nonfiction picture books, and poetry books. The book selection changes as this site captures popular freebies during the last 24 hours. Free classic books. Old time-y classic chapter books from the Library of Congress like Jack in the Beanstalk, The Jungle Book, Peter Rabbit, and Robin Hood.

PJ Library. PJ Library sends free Jewish children’s books to families across the world every month. Families with kids ages 6 months through 8 years old with Judaism as part of their lives, are welcome to sign up, regardless of their Jewish background, knowledge, or observance.

Loyal Books. Free audio books for kids featuring timeless classics like Black Beauty, Little Women, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Railway Children.

We Give Books is a free website that enables anyone with internet access to put books in the hands of children who don’t have them, simply by reading online.

Gigi 28 July

Fun FREE Literacy Activities

Create Your Own Story. A fun and easy to use website to create your own story book.

Children’s and YA Book Trailers: Random House Kids, Children’s Book Trailers, Scholastic, Children’s Book Guild, Harper Collins Children’s Videos, Book Trailers for Readers, Teaching Books,

90 Second Newbery. The 90Second Newbery Film Festival is an annual video contest in which kid filmmakers create weird movies that tell the entire stories of Newbery-winning books in about 90 seconds. Make one this summer and enter the 2017 contest in January.


Summer Reading Programs & Free Books for Kids

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Dee

    Love this and sharing it widely!

  2. This looks great, Mia!! I’ll post it on FB now!

  3. This is a great resource, Mia! Thank you for putting it together!

    Knowing you are one of the founders of Multicultural Children’s Book Day (I’m one of the review bloggers :), I’m pretty confident you’ll enjoy knowing about the free Summer Reading Program that Barefoot Books has this summer!

    It’s called the “World Passport Summer Reading Program” and the idea is to get kids to read around the world! When a parent signs up (through email), we’re able to download and print out a make-your-own passport activity, which is a reading log that encourages kids to read stories from around the world. The parents receive four emails throughout the summer filled with literacy tips, info about the importance of reading aloud, etc. As a fellow mama who wants her children to think of themselves as global citizens, I thought you and your readers might like to check it out! Here is a link:

  4. Very nice article! Worth sharing this one. Thanks for letting us understand this kind of thing. Kudos!

  5. This is such a great activity for children and they get the chance to receive free books. It is helpful to have some activities like reading programs during summer, which allow your kids to enjoy, have fun, socialize, and at the same time learn. Moreover, it helps boost their interest to read more books. Once they get used to it and become a hobby. you can buy personalized books for your kids. I’m sure they will love it.

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