17 Best Online Summer Reading Challenge Ideas for Kids

17 Summer Reading Challenge Ideas & Summer Reading Programs for Kids

Ah, the dog days of summer. Memories of long, luxurious days in the warm sunshine with the pool sparkling and ready. I'm ready for popsicles, watermelon, and a beach vacation. Are you?

The nice thing about a day at the beach, by the pool, or inside with the air conditioner blasting is - they all go very well with a good book, and a summer reading challenge for our kids!

Here are some great ideas for summer reading programs - I hope one or all of them will work for you and your family as they have mine. Enjoy!

Summer Reading Programs

✅ Do summer reading programs work?

The dreaded summer reading slide is a big deal and yes - it's a real thing. When kids are not exposed to reading and learning over long breaks of school, such as over the summer months, they can backslide.

But the great thing about the summer months is the amazing amount of great learning opportunity all around you!

When you are on vacation, learn about the places around you. Search for facts about places you haven't been, even in your own hometown.

And of course - READ! Make sure your child's summer is full of reading and great books. This will give your child such a boost in their growth and education.

Here is a video I found on YouTube about a great mom who is not letting her kiddos take a vacation from learning, even though they are on vacation from school!

Planning a summer reading program 

Start in May or earlier to really have a great, solid reading plan in place to make your child's summer reading more successful. But of course, if you are reading this in June or July, just start today!

There are so many options for getting creative with summer reading challenges. You really only have to pick the program (or programs you want to do, print out whatever information is need, and go for it!)

If there are several programs you and your child choose to do, you can either do them at the same time and have books count for the same reading challenges, or plan to work the programs consecutively. You can't go wrong either way!

Don't forget your local public library for the reading programs they will put on, and you can always join or create a Kid's Reading Club too, for some added fun!


Get your Reading Summer Challenge here, plus all kinds of bookish freebies, like Popsicle bookmarks and Fourth of July bookmarks!

Online summer reading programs

I did a little research looking for online programs to get kids reading. Here is a list of options for choosing reading programs, although I'm sure you can find more! Lots of companies host reading programs as an incentive for customers and also to boost communities. 

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program

The Barnes and Noble Summer Program is a great option to earn a free book! You can fill out this form to earn your book, and then take it into a Barnes and Noble store to redeem.

This is a great way to get your child reading this summer!

- Go here for more details.


Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program


Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program from Half Price Books.

Half Price Books has a great 15-minutes-a-day reading program to get kids and teens reading through the summer. Available are reading logs, online storytimes, weekly social giveaways, and free coloring sheets.

- Go here to find out more details.


Half Price Books Feed Your Brain


Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Here's a great way to keep kids engaged in summer reading - The Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza! Kids are encouraged to track their reading in a free online Scholastic-provided resource with books, games and events. As kids reach tracking goals, they receive rewards and unlock book donations for others. Double win!

Head here to find out more about this fun program.


Scholastic Summer Read-a-Palooza


Coaching for Literacy Summer Reading Program

Not only does this one get your kiddo reading, but you are making an impact to increase literacy rates. Coaching for Literacy exists to raise awareness about the problem of illiteracy and funds for literacy programs serving students in grades K-3. They are connectors bringing individuals closer to the issue of illiteracy, with a core belief that literacy is a fundamental right of every individual. Here are the points to know about their summer reading program..

  • This summer, is challenging readers – young, old and in-between – to push their reading habits by committing to read as many books as they can having started May 31st – September 7th.
  • Readers are invited to ask friends and family to support them by pledging per book read or by making a donation. and fundraising is optional.
  • Everyone who signs up to challenge their reading habits automatically gets entered into a drawing for a Barnes & Noble gift card. PLUS, every 2 books a reader completes throughout the summer, their name automatically gets re-entered into the drawing!
  • Every donation made will be matched 3x up to $5,000!
  • Readers at any time and do not have to commit to the entire summer.


Go here to find out more.


Join the Ultimate Book Adventure

Want your child to be independently reading? Then sign him up for this Ultimate Book Adventure - virtual delights await with this fun, free program.

Sort of a fun "gaming system" where kids who read at home log their reading, take little quizzes and make their way further into the game. A great positive reinforcement platform for encouraging kids to read. I particularly like the "virtual reading pet". Looks fun!

Go here to find out more.


Book Adventure


Broncos Bookworms Summer Reading Program

Calling all football fans! The Denver Broncos have a fun summer reading program where kids get to log 10 books they read over the summer in their playbook.

Rewards include a certificate, bookmark, attendance at an event at Empower Field, plus other prize possibilities, presented by IHOP!

Go here to find out more.


Broncos Bookworms


Read Your Way to Fenway

Or.. maybe you are a Boston Red Sox fan? If you live in the area, or are traveling to the Boston area this summer, check out this deal for kids to read books and earn the chance to be entered into a drawing to win tickets to a baseball game!

This is a golden opportunity for baseball fans. Details look to be released in June.

Go here to find out more at the Boston Public Library.

Read your way to Fenway


Books A Million Summer Reading Adventures

You know those funny Dog Man and Captain Underpants books that kids love? Well, last year the author Dave Pilkey teamed up with Books A Million to get kids reading in summertime. It will be interesting to see what they come up with in the summer of 2021~

Go here to find out more.


Books A Million Summer Reading Program


HEBuddy Summer Reading Club

I think you can do this one, even if you aren't from the great state of Texas! 

Use the available reading log on their website to record 10 books that your child reads, mail it in and get an awesome t-shirt!

Go here for more info.


HEBuddy Summer Reading Club


SYNC Summer Audiobooks for Teens

For teens ages 13+, this fun program gets teens reading with one free audiobook a week. That is a GREAT deal!

Go here to sign up and get more info.


SYNC summer audiobooks for teens


Showcase Cinema Bookworm Wednesdays

If you live near or will be by a Showcase Cinema, check out their Bookworm Wednesdays! Kids can show up with a written book report on Wednesdays to get a free movie ticket.

Movie lovers, this one is perfect for you!

Go here for more info.


Showcase Cinema Bookworm Wednesdays


Free Online Outschool Summer Camps

Consider these amazing virtual (and free!) summer camps for your kids. There are just a ton to look over, and find out which one would fit your child.

This is a great way to keep learning over the summer, and to have fun doing it. 

Go here for more info.


Outschool Summer Camp


Lifeway Summer Reading Program

Get a free Bible and a free book with this summer reading program! 

Check out the page to find out when they update information for 2021.

Go here for more info.


Lifeway Summer Reading Program


DOGObooks Summer Reading Adventure

This fun website is all about kids reading books and giving kid's book reviews. Join in on the fun by reading books, and giving as many book reviews as you can to be eligible to receive prizes.

Go here to find out more info.


Dogobooks Summer Reading Program


Reading Horizons Summer Reading

Check out the Reading Horizons summer reading program! Perfect for not only beginning readers, but older readers. Also great for anyone who struggles with reading to learn how or focus on strengthening skills.

Information for 2021 yet to be posted, but keep this page bookmarked for info soon!

Go here to find out more info.


reading horizons summer reading program


The Pizza Hut Book It Program

This program has been around for many years - I can even remember working on getting my pizza coupon as a kid back in the 80's! So you know it's a good program - and let's face it - pizza will never go out of style.

I'm calling this one a bonus because it's actually a Spring and Fall program. They also have a "Give Me 20" program for early readers to look into.

Go here to find out more about this deal.


Book It! Pizza Hut Reading Program


Braums Book Buddy Reading Program

Not a summer program, but a school-year program, like the Pizza Hut Book-It, the Braums Book Buddy Program is a great idea to keep kids reading, providing wonderful goal incentives to get lots of reading in, and being proud of book-reading accomplishments.

A great way to read good books, and enjoy up to 6 ice cream treats while doing it!

Go here for more info about the Braums Book Buddy Program.


Braums Book Buddy Reading Progrm


Local summer reading programs

Want to find a local summer reading challenge idea or program? Head over to your local public library to see what is available (or look for them online), or you can even Google it.

I can almost guarantee that your local library is going to have something fun planned for the summer, even if it is digital only!

Type it into the search bar of Google, check the map below, or click here >> Summer Reading Programs Near Me

Summer reading challenge ideas

Come up with your own incentives at home to make up your own reading challenges, and/or try some of the local or online reading programs that you can find!

✅ Summer reading challenge printable

Come up with a challenge for your kiddo that is tailored to what she might like. Put up a reading chart or some kind of incentive to have a goal for reading a certain number of books or amounts of time.

The Great Summer Reading Challenge that I put together is sort of an "all the places you can read" challenge. It's free! Just print it out, tweak it, and use it to motivate your reader. That link signs you up for all sorts of free bookish goodies for your kids.

Great Summer Reading Challenge

I also found a few other fun printable reading challenges for you! Check out:

25 Day Reading Challenge for Kids

Summer Reading Challenge

Highlights Summer Reading Bingo

Get your creative juices flowing to come up with your own ideas for a summer reading program!

As you can see there are lots of options that you can use for your own to create a reading program for your child. You can make one up at home, tape it onto the fridge and go for it, you can join online programs that help kids make great reading progress, or you can join local programs in your own community!

Whatever you choose for your summer reading challenges, be sure to MAKE IT FUN!

Let me know what your summer reading goals are in the comments and remember to download your Great Summer Reading Challenge printable for FREE!









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