Calling all book worms and budding readers! Swap out those screens for some good, old-fashioned books and sign up for a summer reading program to reap the many rewards of getting lost in a page turner. We’ve found exciting programs that will encourage kids to dive in to great reads by offering prizes and incentives including free admission to the San Diego County Fair, toys, kids’ meals and more! Read on for where to sign up!

photo: jill111 via Pixabay

San Diego Public Library Summer Reading Program: Reading Takes You Everywhere!

Dates: June 1- Aug. 1
Ages: All

San Diego County and city branch libraries are sponsoring their great summer reading program with the theme: “Reading Takes You Everywhere!” Register and record your summer reading progress online. When kids reach their reading goal, they win prizes such as museum passes and free kids’ meals. Plus, there’s so much to see and do at your library during the summer months: animal encounters, magic shows, arts and crafts, LEGO clubs—all for free. Click the links below to get started.

County Libraries:
City of San Diego Libraries:

Read more about some great experiences your local library has to offer in our story: Check it Out! Wow-Worthy Free Library Programs for Kids.

photo: semslibrarylady via Pixabay

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program

Dates: Through Sept. 3
Ages: Grades 1-6

Kids can keep their eyes on the prize with the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program. Download the Reading Journal from the Barnes and Noble website, have kids read any 8 books they choose and record their favorite part of the book in their journal. When the journal is complete, take it to your local store and choose a free book to take home. This year’s offerings include favorite titles like Fancy Nancy, Pete the Cat, I Survived, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


Read Your Way Into the Fair

Dates: through July 4
Ages: 6-12  (Kids 5 & under are free to the fair)

Who wants to go to the San Diego County Fair for free? By simply reading and recording the titles of ten books, kids can earn a free ticket to the fair.  Download the certificate here and have a teacher or librarian sign it. Bring completed certificate to the fair and kids will be presented with a free ticket and a sense of accomplishment. Maybe mom or dad can help celebrate their reading success with a special treat: Dipped cone, anyone?


Read our guide on more ways to score sweet deals at the San Diego County Fair.

photo: ChhoukNet via Pixabay

Chuck E. Cheese Reading Rewards

Dates: Ongoing
Ages: 4 and up

Chuck E. Cheese has a year round reading program where kids can earn ten free Chuck E. Cheese tokens for reading each day for 2 weeks. Download the calendar here. Kids read each day for two weeks, marking the calendar as they go. When the calendar is complete, bring it to any Chuck E. Cheese location, earn ten free tokens and have some gaming fun. Do your kids love Chuck E. Cheese? Check out their site for incentives for everything you want kids to do this summer from cleaning their room to using good table manners.


photo: San Diego Public Library Foundation

Junie B. Jones Book Club

Dates: Ongoing
Ages: 6 to 9 years

Got an early reader in the house who loves to crack jokes? The Junie B. Jones series offers a year round book club. Sign up and to receive a newsletter with funny ideas to keep kids reading and contests that will engage young minds and keep them curious.


photo: Creative Commons

Bright Reading Ideas and a Contest

Dates: Through June 22
Ages: All

Brightly, a site with thousands of book suggestions based on kids’ age, reading level and interests, offers great advice to parents about reading. Check out their Summer Reading Challenge where you’ll find a printable to download featuring 20 great ideas to mix things up when reading: build a reading fort, or pair fun activities with books like reading a book on constellations and then stargazing as a family.

This summer, the site is partnering with Melissa and Doug for an awesome giveaway. Enter to win a Summer Fun Pack through June 22. The winning family will receive 50 new books and $1000 of Melissa and Doug toys.


Who’s your kid’s favorite author? Share in the comments below!

––Cherie Gough


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