We're reader-supported and only partner with brands we trust. When you buy through links on our site we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date and time indicated and are subject to change.

When summer comes, I find myself scrambling to keep the kids entertained and further their education. Thankfully, there are kids’ summer reading programs. And even better, they get my kids some awesome freebies.

Who offers summer reading programs? What kind of kids’ freebies can you get? What do these programs require?

I have assembled a great list of 9 options for your summer that offer free books, movies, games, and more.

Download the KCL app for more deals and savings on everything kids.


1. Get a free book with Barnes & Noble’s Reading Program.

Three children sitting on the floor reading books in front of a bookcase filled with books.

To earn a free book in the Barnes & Noble’s Reading Program, kids have to read eight books and record their progress in a journal, along with some info about their favorite part of each book. Once they turn in their journals, they can pick out a free book. The program runs from July 1 to Aug. 31, 2022.


2. Participate in the Chuck E. Cheese Reading Challenge to get 10 free Play Points.

Children playing a game at Chuck E. Cheese.

When your child reads every day for two weeks, they’ll earn 10 play points (worth $5) in the Chuck E. Cheese Reading Challenge! This one takes place year-round.


3. Earn Bookworm Bucks when you join the Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Camp.

A mom sitting with a child and laughing while reading a book.

Have your kids read and record their minutes with a reading log from Half Price Books’ website. After 300 minutes of reading, they’ll earn $5 in Bookworm Bucks that work just like gift cards.

The program starts June 1, 2022, and reading logs must be in by Aug. 1, 2022, to get your prize.


4. Earn digital rewards through Scholastic’s Summer Reading Program.

Two children laying on the ground reading books.

When your kids meet their weekly Scholastic Summer Reading they’ll receive digital rewards like badges, book excerpts, and video clips. They can also help donate books to kids who don’t have access to books in rural America.

In 2021, kids had from April 26 to Sept. 3 to win prizes.


5. Sign your teens up for SYNC to get free audiobooks all summer long.

A teenager with headphones on sitting in front of a laptop and writing on a notepad.

All you have to do is download the OverDrive Sora app, and you’ll get access to two different preselected audiobooks from Audiofile Magazine every week starting Thursday, April 28, 2022. You have a 7-day window to get your book from the app. Once you do, the book is yours forever. The program ends on Aug. 17, 2022. See the book selections here.



6. Get freebies like hats, journals, and more during the annual Books-A-Million summer reading program.


In 2020, kids who read four books and brought in a complete reading journal to their local store received a Dog Man “Supa Buddies” hat, and in 2021, kids were able to earn a free Because of Winn-Dixie notepad and pen by reading four books and writing a little bit about them.

Books-A-Million announces their reading program every year in mid-May.


7. Local public libraries offer reading programs and prizes.

A child with French braids, facing away from the camera, looking at a bin full of books that other children are looking through.

Most public libraries offer summer reading programs for kids and even activities like storytime.

Last year, my local library had kids keep track of their reading minutes. There were four goals they could hit, and they’d get a prize for reaching each one. The final prize was getting to attend a pool party hosted by the library.

You can also ask your local library about the Collaborative Summer Library Program. Each library sets up their own incentives for this program, so check with yours. You can also set up your own incentives and read along at home.


8. Turn in a book report to Showcase Cinemas and watch a movie for free.

A group of children with 3D glasses on sitting while they each hold containers of popcorn.

Kids just have to present a book report (any length) at the ticket booth at Showcase Cinemas on “Bookworm Wednesdays” to get free admission to select children’s movies like Sing, Minions, and The Lorax.

Best of all, parents, guardians, or children under the age of six get to watch a movie with the reader for free.

Check the list of participating cinemas. (Note: They’re almost all in the Northeastern U.S.)


9. Tell your teachers about reading programs like Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT!

Pizza Hut restaurant building at night.
There are other great programs that parents and teachers can use to encourage children to read, like Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT! program. Kids can earn a free one-topping pizza by completing monthly goals like reading minutes or number of pages.

10. Teachers, enroll your students in the Panda Express Read With Me program.

The front of a Panda Express restaurant

Enroll your students in the Panda Express Read With Me reading program online. Each student will have a goal of reading five books. Once each child reaches their goal, they’ll get a free meal coupon.

These 10 Summer Reading Programs Offer Awesome Freebies for Kids