As long as you count the backs of cereal boxes, I'm quite the voracious reader. I read on average two books a month and if your children are anything like me, they might be interested in this list I compiled of free summer reading programs! I've been updating this list since 2014 and was pretty surprised at how many of the offers stilled existed in 2021!
Below are all of the 2021 summer reading freebies and deals for kids! Most follow the “read X books, get 1 free” model, but there are a few that differ. Hopefully your little one enjoys reading or at least getting freebies 🙂
These will be updated with 2021 freebies and offers when they're released. Typically, that occurs around April & May each year.
I also have an idea I wanted to pass along. With some of these programs, you earn a free book off a list of available books. If your child reads this summer, but isn't interested in the freebies, consider donating them! School and public library are always desperate for books. Donating them to The Salvation Army or Goodwill is another possibility. Regardless, showing your child that freebies can be fun and helpful to others is a cool idea!
Confirmed 2020 Summer Reading Freebies
Amazon – Grades K-8 can read any 8 books this summer and get
a free book$1 off your next book purchase. Man, they really downgraded this offer for 2020, huh?
Barnes & Noble – For kids in grades 1-6, get a free book after reading 8 books and filling out a Reading Journal by September 18. For adults, share your school's required reading list and get a free tall hot or iced coffee from the cafe. They also have coupons and discounts listed under the right-most “Summer Reading Deals” tab.
Books-A-Million – Read 4 books and take the form in-store to get a free Dog Man baseball cap.
Chuck E. Cheese – They have a ton of methods for kids to earn freebies, from good grades to sports achievements to reading in Spanish or English! This reading rewards calendar doesn't expire until 12/31/20 and gets 10 free Play Points with any food purchase.
DOGOBooks – Ten participants who review the most books will be eligible to win a Prize Pack of seven books shown on the site. The next twenty-five participants with the most reviews will be eligible to win a $10 Gift Card.
Half Price Books – Starting June 1, children 14 and under who read 300 minutes over June and July (that's only 5 mins/day) will receive Bookworm Bucks. I don't see where it says how much you'll get, but it was $5 previous years.
Teens can also earn HPB Bookworm Bucks by reading any of the listed titles and writing a short review.
New York Times – Every Friday from June 12 through August 21, children aged 13-19 can read one article in the NYT and write in about why they read it or what interested them. At the end of the week, judges from the Times newsroom pick favorite responses and publish them here. Aside from broadening their horizon's and randomly posting some of the selected weekly responses, there doesn't look to be any “reason” to do this. Still, 15-year-old-Goob would have gone crazy over this offer so maybe there's a kindred Hiffer out there who would enjoy this.
Pizza Hut – I can't find any details on what the prizes are, but Pizza Hut has run their Book It summer programs for many years now and people seem to love it.
Public Libraries – Be sure to check with your local libraries, as they often host multiple weekly, monthly, and seasonal events and reading competitions.
Scholastic – From May 4 until September 4, kids ages 6-17 can log their reading time online as part of the Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Challenge. Over the course of 18 weeks, kids can enter their summer reading minutes online, unlocking digital rewards as they complete weekly reading challenges; and access book excerpts, videos, and other summer-exclusive content.
SYNC – This free program offers audiobooks each week to teens ages 13+. You don't get any rewards, but hey, free books!
TD Bank – Finally we have the classic offer by TD Bank. Kids in grades K-5 have until Aug. 31 to read 10 books. They'll be rewarded with cold, hard cash in the form of $10 added to their free savings account.
Previous Summer Reading Deals Unconfirmed for 2020
The items below were summer reading deals during 2018-2019. If I find confirmation they'll return this year, I'll move them up above.
American Girl – Select locations in large cities are being held for girls ages 8 and up. Kids get to decorate their own bookmark and summer reading log and can take home a doll-sized poster.
HEBuddy – After reading 10 books, send in the form to receive a “cool prize,” which looks to be a free t-shirt.
LifeWay – Take your completed Summer Reading Journal to the register at your local LifeWay store to get one of nine books plus receive a free Bible, while supplies last.
Showcase Cinemas – Bookworm Wednesday rewards your little one with free admission to a select children's film when they present a book report. Accompanying parents or guardians and children under six years of age receive free admission and do not need to submit a book report!