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Summer Reading: Fun for All!

Schools and libraries know that reading is one of the most important skills for learning, and rightly worry that if reading falls off in the summer months, it will be that much harder to get back into the swing of things when school starts up again.

Many teachers send home summer reading lists to combat this issue, and almost every public library has its own summer reading program. Though they vary by location, most of these programs follow a similar pattern: keep track of the minutes you read, and get a prize at the end of the summer.

But beyond schools and libraries, many businesses have also gotten into the summer reading program promotion. Many local businesses will have their own promotions, but there are also a number of national companies that promote summer literacy. All of the following programs are free.

  • Pizza Hut
    • This program is for children in grades PreK – 6th. You enroll online and can record your child’s reading either on paper or digitally. Often, teachers will set up their entire class. The goal is to read for 20 minutes each day. Once the goal is reached, you can get a personal pan pizza with one topping. This can be repeated once a month.
  • Barnes & Noble
    • This program is for children grades 1st – 6th. Children read any eight books, then fill out the Summer Reading Journal with the title, author, and favorite part of the book. Take the completed journal to a Barnes and Noble store between July 1st and August 31st, 2021. Choose your free book! Free book choices are listed on the journal by grade level. Each level has at least nine reward book options.
  • Chuck E. Cheese
    • This pizza and playland favorite has a rewards tracker for a variety of behaviors, including reading. Each completed tracker earns 10 free play points. There is a limit of one calendar per child, per day.
  • Olga’s Kitchen
    • The reading program from the Olga’s Kitchen restaurant chain is for kids ages 12 and under. You can print a number of trackers, and kids can color in squares on the grid. Once the tracker is full, you can take it in to an Olga’s Kitchen restaurant for a free Kid’s Meal and Kid’s Dessert. This program runs until September 4th, 2021.
  • Six Flags
    • There are 16 Six Flags theme parks throughout the United States. The Six Flags Read to Succeed program is currently on hold due to COVID-19, but hopefully it will return soon.

Summers are traditionally a time of free, unstructured play, and that’s an invaluable part of childhood. Of course, that doesn’t mean that reading gets completely ignored. Utilizing some incentives from local resources can be a fun and easy way to encourage kids to keep reading through the summer months.

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