Free Summer Reading Programs

Reading a book, there is no better way to start off the summer! Now is the perfect time to dive in to Summer Reading. Whether it is reading during play time or enjoying that last story before bed, reading has always been a big part of our daily routine. One of my favorite things as a parent, is watching the excitement on my girls faces when we read together!

Reading is an adventure for all ages! We have a Kindergarten graduate who has found a love for chapter books,  and a 3 year-old who loves to “read” to her babies. I LOVE it! I encourage you to incorporate reading into your summer routine. If you are expecting, have a toddler, or are wrapping up the final days of the school year, the memories that are created from reading will be ones that you will cherish forever. Reading over the summer will also help kids maintain and increase their reading and learning skills. It is a win for everyone involved!


Some of the best summer reading programs are at your local public library. Every public library has a different summer reading program but almost all of them have rewards and prizes for kids as well as fun events & story times. Be sure to check out programs offered at your local library. There are also book stores, restaurants, and other businesses that have created programs to help make reading a part of your summer routine. Check out the links below to find the best fit for your children. You can even pick a few, as there is no such thing as too much reading!

The Lane Libraries- Summer Reading Program
Hamilton. Fairfield. Oxford

The Cincinnati Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County- Summer Learning

Midpointe Library- Super Summer

Collaborative Summer Library Program 

Mason Public Library Summer Reading Program

Kenton County Library

Chuck E. Cheese
At Chuck E. Cheese your child can fill out a Reading Rewards Calendar and bring it in for ten free tokens after two weeks of daily reading. FYI: A food purchase is required in order to use the free tokens. Added bonus: There are rewards calendars available for a variety of accomplishments (brushing teeth, potty training & no nose picking)! This program is ongoing for all ages.

Pizza Hut: Book It! Ignite a Summer of Reading!
This was one of my favorite reading programs when I was in elementary school! (We won’t discuss how long ago that was!) Get your child involved (grades K-6) and earn reading reward certificates for a free, one-topping, personal pan pizza. Enrollment is now open, but it is through your local school, so be sure to visit the link below for details. There is a homeschool enrollment option as well!

Sylvan- Book Adventure
Sylvan’s program encourages children (grades K-8) to read books and then take online quizzes to earn points. The points can be redeemed for prizes like books, magazine subscriptions, tattoos, candy, CD’s, and games. Good news, this program runs all year long!

Half Price Books- Summer Reading Program
When children read for 300 minutes, log time & have parents sign off during both June and July they’ll get $5 in Bookworm Bucks each month to Half Price Books. Students 14 & under can participate. Program runs June 1-July 31. Bookworm Bucks must be redeemed by August 31, 2017.

Barnes & Noble- Summer Reading Program
This program gives out a free book to each child who reads any eight books over the summer. Visit the link to print out your child’s Summer Reading  Journal. There are many popular titles to choose from! Program runs May 16 – September 5.

Showcase Cinema- Bookworm Wednesday’s
Participating locations will give your child free admission to a select movie when they show a completed book report. Added bonus: Accompanying parents & children under 6 are free as well!

The Old Spaghetti Factory- Rewards of Reading Program
The Old Spaghetti Factory loves to reward good readers! Read 5 books and bring the completed form to The Old Spaghetti Factory (Fairfield) for a free kids meal. All ages are welcome to participate. If you (or your school, library or community group) would like to participate please call 503-225-0433 or [email protected]

The Rusty Bucket “Buckateer Bookworms” Program

Children in Kindergarten through 5th grade can pick up a bookmark tracker at any neighborhood location.  Once the child has read 5 books and tracked them on the back of the bookmark, the student will receive a complimentary kids meal. 

Imagination Library
Even as this is not technically a summer reading program, I had to include it in this list. It is a great way to get preschoolers involved in reading. Imagination Library is a program started by Dolly Parton in 1995 to provide children the gift of free books by mail. Perfect for those that have limited access to libraries. When you sign up your child, they’ll receive one new, age appropriate, paper back book each month from birth to age 5. Participation is based on your zip code.

Are you ready to get started? Maybe even grab a book yourself & join in on the fun! Even if your child doesn’t enjoy reading or being read to, try changing up the scenery a bit! Go outside and find a spot in the shade, pitch a tent inside and read while “camping” or even visit one of our favorite places The Red Balloon Cafe + Play in Pleasant ridge. They have a wonderful partnership with Cincinnati Public Library. You can check out books, enjoy them while you eat lunch or have a snack & then let the kiddos burn off some energy in the play room before heading home!

Happy Reading!

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