Over 30 Summer Reading Ideas and Information – Updated Yearly

If you’re looking for summer reading ideas, you’ll find lots of them here! I’ve included updated information for this summer, but you’ll also find timeless ideas and activities you can use any summer or even other times of the year.

Many bookstores and businesses have stopped having summer reading programs, but there are still quite a few available! And there’s no reason why you (parents, grandparents, or even aunts, uncles, or friends and neighbors) can’t have your own program for the children in your family or neighborhood.

We have some great ideas to share with you! You’ll find book lists, free printable tracking sheets, information from companies that offer summer reading programs, and more!

Summer Reading Ideas – Free Printable

And speaking of free printables, we have a free Summer Reading Challenge printable!  Request it here:

Summer Reading Ideas and Information  free printable

Why Should I Encourage Summer Reading?

Before I share my ideas and information, I think it’s important to talk about why summer reading is important. After all, we busy homeschool parents don’t have a lot of time for things that don’t really matter, do we?

So why is it important for us to encourage our children and teens to read over the summer? I’m glad you asked! There are quite a few great reasons!

  • It gives our kids and teens something constructive to do instead of them sitting around getting bored. Building and maintaining reading skills are important! After all, think about how many subjects require that our children be good readers. Literature, grammar, history, and science are just a few subjects that will be much easier for our children if they can read well.
  • It helps our kids improve comprehension.
  • Reading stimulates the imagination.
  • It helps improve memory skills.
  • It helps our kids learn to enjoy reading (if they don’t already).
  • Lastly, reading can help encourage writing skills.

Summer Reading Programs for Children, Teens, and Parents

We know that most summer reading programs are for children in the K-6th grade range, but there is a program we found that is for teens! Be sure to scroll down to the “Got Teens?” section to read about it.

Also, we want to encourage you as parents to participate in summer reading along with your children! Even though most programs only provide incentives and rewards for children, it’s still a great idea to let your children see you reading just for fun!

2022 Summer Reading Information

Barnes & Noble

This summer reading program is for grades 1-6. Click on the link below to find the Barnes & Noble summer reading information.

To summarize, children in grades 1-6 can read any 8 books, record them in the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Journal, tell which part of each book is the reader’s favorite and why, and take the completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between July 1 and August 31, 2023. 

Upon submitting the journal, the reader will be able to choose a free book from the list of book choices included at the top of the journal.

To learn more about the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program, click this link. 


Scholastic is hosting a summer reading program this summer from May 4 – September 7, 2023.

Their Summer Reading on Home Base program is a free and safe digital destination that offers stories, characters, games, and a community of readers. It is moderated 24/7 for safety, so you don’t have to worry whether it’s ok for your kiddos to participate.

Scholastic offers your kids the chance to:

  • join a community of readers
  • read books and stories
  • attend author events
  • interact with their favorite characters
  • play book-based games and activities
  • join dance parties
  • attend events each day and maintain a Reading Streak in Home Base (which helps unlock a donation of 100,000 books from Scholastic to kids in America with limited or no access to books)
  • earn digital experiences by reading books

To learn more about Scholastic’s Summer Reading Program, click this link. 


This year, Books-a-Million has teamed up with Christopher Paolini (author of the Inheritance Cycle series). To participate, children need to choose any 4 books from the Summer Reading Adventure section (in-store or online), write about the books in the log book, and show the completed logbook to a store associate.

After completing the log book and showing it to a store associate, each participant will receive a free bookmark and pencil pouch.

To learn more about Books-a-Million’s Summer Reading Adventure, click this link. 

Your Local Public Library

Most local public libraries offer summer reading programs! Be sure to check with the library in your area to see what they have to offer and join in the fun!

Half Price Books 

Check out Half Price Books’ Summer Reading Camp !

Chuck E. Cheese

Chuck E. Cheese has a Reading Rewards Calendar you’ll want to check out this summer.

Pizza Hut BookIt Summer Reading

Click here to find out more about Pizza Hut’s BookIt reading program for kids between the ages of 4 and 12 and for parents of kids through grade 6.

Local Businesses 

There may be businesses that are local to you that offer summer reading programs. Search online for “summer reading in CITY, STATE, to see if you can find some local-to-you businesses that offer them. Or do a search for “summer reading program near me.”

Boston Public Library

Click here to find out more about the 2023 Boston Public Library Summer Reading Program in 2023.


Click here to learn about HEB’s H-E-Buddy Summer Reading Club. Kids read ten books and record them on their reading log, have an adult initial each book, and mail the form to the address found at the link to get a prize. The contest is open until October 1, 2023.

Sonlight Summer Reading

Sonlight wants to challenge your kids to a fun summer reading contest! To find out more, download your Summer Reading Challenge Kit, take advantage of lots of free resources, and download a free summer reading chart, click here!

Mensa for Kids’ Excellence in Reading

Mensa for Kids wants to help kids develop a love of reading! The Mensa Foundation recognizes and encourages education, gifted youth, and lifelong learning, and they are open to readers under the age of 18 along with teachers and librarians. This summer reading program is open to kids from kindergarten through 12th grade. Click here to go to the link to get all the details.

Showcase Cinemas

Showcase Cinemas is hosting Bookworm Wednesdays to encourage young children to read during the summer months. This program allows kids to get free movie admission to select children’s films when they present book reports at participating cinemas. (Parents/guardians and children under 6 years of age also get free admission and don’t have to submit a book report.)

To find the list of participating cinemas and get more information, click here.

Got Teens?

For the 13th season, SYNC is offering 16 weeks of free audiobooks for teens! SYNC is a summer reading program for teens (ages 13 and up, but anyone can participate). This year, the program runs for 16 weeks, allowing participants to download two audiobooks each week for free to each registered listener (for a total of 32 free books).

To get more information and sign up to participate, click here!

Audible for Teens or Adults 

I never thought I’d be somebody who loves audiobooks, but I am! When I have to drive a long distance (which I do twice a year for our Homeschool Road Trips and other times for vacations, etc., I love listening to audiobooks to keep myself entertained and alert while I’m driving.

I also enjoy listening to them while I’m washing dishes, folding laundry, working in the garden, vacuuming, and doing other boring and monotonous jobs around the house. Podcasts are great too, but audiobooks last longer and, for the amount of time I get to listen to them, aren’t too expensive.

If you’d like to try an Audible subscription for free for 30 days, click here. You’ll get a huge selection of books including originals, audiobooks, sleep tracks (which I LOVE!), meditation programs, and podcasts for $7.95 a month after your free trial.

Or, if you’d like Audible Premium Plus, you’ll get everything I listed above plus one title a month from Audible’s entire catalog of bestsellers and new releases (and you’ll get to keep them!). Audible Premium Plus is $14.95 a month after the free trial. (Which isn’t a bad price considering one audiobook can cost $15.00 or more)!

Summer Reading Book Suggestions

Books for Littles

Book Suggestions for Upper Elementary Ages

Books for Middle-Graders

Book Suggestions for Preteen Girls

Summer Reading List for Preteen Girls

Book Suggestions for Teens

Books for Teens

Read with Your Teen This Summer 

Book Suggestions for Moms

Great Reads for a Slow-Down Summer

If you’re a mom who wants to slow down this summer and let God work in your life, you’ll love these book suggestions!

10 Books to Read This Summer

This article challenges you to read ten different kinds of books this summer–some of which you may have read before and some that may be new to you. It suggests categories or topics (along with some book suggestions) and encourages you to choose books that fit that category as well.

More Summer Reading Info

Summer Reading for Parents and Kids

Read Aloud Suggestions and Information

5 Hidden Benefits of Reading Aloud to Your Children

Why should you read aloud to your children this summer (or any time of year!)? Here are some reasons you may not have thought about!

Five Creative Ways to Read Aloud This Summer

Are you looking for ways to build some read-aloud time into your schedule this summer? We have some suggestions!

Summer Read Aloud Goals

Here you’ll find a few great suggestions for books you might want to read aloud to your children this summer.

Five Ways to Help Your Kids Love Read Alouds

If you want to help your children love read-aloud time, these ideas will help!

75+ Favorite Read Alouds for Elementary-Aged Kids

Looking for a long list of read-aloud choices for your elementary-aged kiddos? This is it!

And More Fun Stuff!

Engage Unwilling Readers

6 Simple Practices to Engage Unwilling Readers

Want Your Kids to Love Reading? Try This!

Helping Struggling Readers

5 Fun Ways to Help Your Struggling Reader This Summer

Summer Reading Tracker Free Printable

Zoo Scavenger Hunt Printables and Book Lists

Big List of Sea Life Books

Books That Feature Homeschool Children

Teach Homeschool Art with Literature: Activities for Grandpa Green Book

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  1. Thank you for taking the time to compile such an impressive list! We always fill our summer with fun new picture books and reading throughout the day. I think a book that definitely needs to be considered as a must-read this summer is, “The Dyno Dinosaur Family Presents: Waves of Kindness” by Sharida McKenzie. It is a beautifully illustrated picture book that focuses on the Dyno family and the simple acts of kindness Sister Dinosaur (Dora) can do to spread waves of kindness to the community, friends, and the environment too! My favorite line in the book is when the family is saying goodnight to Dora and her parents ask “What did you do to make the world a better place today?” I ask my children that every night now! And it doesn’t have to be something big! It can be something as simple as asking a new child at the playground to join in or putting away their toys. I think I might love this book as much as my kids. Happy Summer!

  2. This is an amazing resource you have put together! I have been researching avoiding the summer slide over the past month and this is a helpful starting point for books to read. Looking forward to a 2021 update!

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