Need some help motivating the kids to read over the summer months? Participating in a Summer Reading Program that offers free books or prizes might provide just the right incentive to keep the kids reading during those hot summer days — on car trips, at the beach, by the pool, on indoor afternoons. Here’s a roundup of such programs in the Austin area.

–> Summer Reading Incentive Programs:

Austin Public Library Summer Reading Program:
Kids can keep a summer reading log to record the books they read from June through August to earn a free book upon completion. And the library has loads of fun events for all ages all summer long, including live music, puppet shows, movies, dance, arts & crafts and more. For more information and specific event details, click here.


H-E-B Buddy Summer Reading Club
All you have to do is read ten books and record them on this form (which you can also pick up in-store). Once the form is complete, you can mail it in (by October 1) and be rewarded with a special t‑shirt. (For ages 3-12, and must be Texas residents.)

Fullscreen+capture+652013+60510+AM.bmpBarnes & Noble Summer Reading Triathlon
It’s the 20th year of Barnes & Noble’s summer reading program, which kicks off on June 4 with many in-store activities at their locations nationwide. You can download a free Reading Journal, and have kids answer 3 of the 4 questions on the back. They can then take the completed form to any Barnes & Noble store by September 6, 2016 to be rewarded with a free book from their in-store selection.


Half Price Books “Feed Your Brain” Summer Reading Program
Kids in preschool through 8th grade are asked to read for 15 minutes a day in June and July. (Grown-ups may read aloud to kids who are still learning.) Complete this form, and once kids have logged 300 or more minutes, you can bring the reading log to any Half Price Book location to claim your prize of Bookworm Bucks (to be used for shopping in the store). This promotion is good through September 1, 2016. Visit the website for more details.

feed_your_brainBookPeople’s “Give Me Summer, Give Me Books” Program
BookPeople believes that there is nothing better to do on a lazy summer day than to dig into a great book. In that spirit, they offer a free summer reading program for all young readers going into grades K-8. Stop by BookPeople to pick up a summer reading bookmark for your age level. Then read 6 books (including some of three of their recommended books). When completed, kids can turn in their bookmark to have their name added to the Wall of Summer Reading Stars and to receive a BookPeople gift certificate.


Besides the Austin Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, all area libraries offer their own reading incentives during the summer months. Please check with your local branch to inquire about their programs.

Happy reading!