Another school year is coming to an end and we are looking forward to a slower-paced summer. Although kids may not have to be back in the classroom for a while, don’t put away all the books yet. It’s time to explore all the summer reading programs in Houston!
Every summer since my kids were in preschool, we have participated in those fun summer reading programs at the public library and at participating bookstores. We always loved making a special outing of bringing our completed reading logs into the bookstore and with their hard-earned leaving reward.
Below is a list of summer reading programs for kids in Houston. Encouraging kids to read while school is out is crucial in helping them stay on track. Check out our other tips at the bottom of the list for creative ways to keep literacy in the mix this summer.
12 of the Best Summer Reading Programs for Houston Kids
1} Houston Public Library
Summer Reading fun begins at the Houston Public Library from June 1- August 15 with their Summer Reading Program named “Oceans of Possibilities”. There’s a version for babies and toddlers, kids, and teens. Log in your reading time to earn free books, prizes, and a chance to win even bigger rewards in weekly drawings. Log on and read for at least 20 minutes every day, attend virtual programs, or watch videos to earn more entries. Attend virtual programs and earn virtual badges as well.
2} Harris County Public Library
The HCPL Summer Reading Program 2022 called Tails and Tales will run from June 6 – August 6 this summer. Pre-register starting May 23 so you’re ready to go! Not only can readers track and meet their reading goal for prizes, but children and parents alike can take advantage of the free online programs throughout the summer. You can watch fun, educational summer reading programs on your phone, tablet or computer too.
3} Fort Bend Public Library
“Oceans of Possibilities ” is this year’s theme for FBCL’s annual summer reading program, which runs this year from May 30 – August 31. Children and adults of all ages can participate by tracking their reading and earning prizes. Readers will also be eligible for gift card drawings at the end of the summer. In June, virtual activities will be posted online for kids to follow. Families of toddlers and preschoolers may pick up to-go activity packets for the month from their local Fort Bend Public Library branch. These packets contain fun craft activities that can be done at home.
4} Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Challenge
From May 9 through August 19, kids can visit the summer zone in Scholastic Home Base to join the summer reading challenge. By creating an account on Home Base, kids can join a community of readers online where they can enjoy stories, characters, and games. Parents can rest assure knowing that Home Base is moderated for safety 24/7. This free digital destination will have kids logging their reading time to unlock online stories and earn virtual rewards. Kids can read any book of their choice and download and print a report of their progress at any time. The longer a child extends their reading streak, the more digital experiences they earn!
5} Book Adventure from Sylvan
Although Book Adventure from Sylvan does not provide access to actual books or digital books, it encourages reading by hosting quizzes on over 17,000 kids book titles, much like the Accelerated Reading program popular at many schools. Readers in grades K-8 take quizzes on books they’ve read, earn points, and win virtual prizes. Parents can monitor each kid’s progress and also access resources to encourage reading. Book Adventure seems to be a year-round program, but would be a fun distraction during the long days of summer. There is a cost for membership in order to access the complete quiz database, but you can sign up for a free membership to test, evaluate, and explore the site.
6} PBS Learning Media’s Summer of Reading
Jump start your summer with PBS Learning Media’s Summer of Reading. The collection of activities, videos, and interactive games help kids build vocabulary. They’ll get to practice their reading comprehension through storybook characters that come to life. Check out the suggested summer reads for different grade levels. Keep kids interested with books on fantasy, mystery, and adventure! To keep track of the books you’re reading over the summer, print out this colorful reading chart from PBS Kids.
6} SUPER WHY Reading Camp by PBS Kids
Set up and run your own Reading Camp with materials provided by PBS Kids. This camp is made for preschoolers and early elementary readers with its interactive reading approach and fun SUPER WHY characters. Kids take part in reading-based, branded SUPER WHY crafts, games and songs that promote early literacy skills. The themed weeks come complete with videos, printables and extension activities as well.
8} Half-Price Books
The popular Half-Price Books bookstore is ready for kids to enjoy their Summer Reading Camp! Starting June 1 until the end of July, online campers can get their fill of fun reads and activities to keep busy during lazy days of summer! Register now so you’ll have access to printable camp components all summer long, including book recommendation lists, craft and activity ideas, coloring sheets, and reward stickers. Enjoy themed weeks such as Camp Creativity, Camp Discovery, Camp Motion, and Camp Imagination. Earn your $5 Bookworm Bucks to use in stores!
9} Barnes & Noble
Download the Barnes & Noble Reading Journal, and begin reading to earn a free book from the bookstore! After reading 8 books of your choice, fill out the journal with the title and your favorite part of each book. Then bring the completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store in July and August to redeem for your reward! Kids can choose their free book from the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program selections which includes choices for each reading level from grade 1-6.
10} Chuck E. Cheese
Though not strictly a summer reading program, the Chuck E. Cheese Reading Rewards calendar is great at encouraging kids to dive into a good story this summer. Decide how you want to use the chart. You can reward kids with a checkmark for reading every day, for reading a certain number of minutes, or for finishing a book. Once they’ve completed the two-week chart, they earn 10 free play-points at Chuck E. Cheese!
11} HEB Summer Reading Club
HE-Buddy invites kids to join in the summer reading fun with the HE-Buddy Summer Reading Club. Read ten books, record them on the reading log form and have an adult initial next to the title. One of the books must be a Read 3 Book from the store (see choices on the website). Once the log is complete, mail in the form and be rewarded with a special prize. You have until October 1 to get in ten good reads! The HE Budy Summer Reading Club is intended for children who are residents of Texas and between the ages of 3 12.
12} Pizza Hut & Camp Book It
Join the free, digital, parent-led summer reading program that rewards children for reading all summer long. The Camp Book It Digital Dashboard will help kids keep track of their reading from June to August. Kids set a monthly goal, and once they meet it, they can redeem for a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza® from Pizza Hut! As a Camp Book It participant, kids will also have access to fun activities and book recommendations throughout the summer.
And Here’s A Little Extra…
- Watch YouTube recordings of favorite stories. The Scholastic Storybook Treasures channel lets you choose from dozens of classic picture books as well as Scholastic favorites read in Mandarin or Spanish!
- Access books on an iPad through the library’s e-book lending system. You can find lots of children’s e-book titles at the Houston Public Library for their summer reading adventures.
- Try audiobooks! These are great for summer road trips too.
- Join the kids! Kids love to compete with their parents. Public libraries often offer an adult reading program as well as family programs.
- Offer family rewards for hitting reading goals:: pick out a new book, go on an adventure together, serve a snack that reminds them of their favorite book, or see a movie-version of a book they read.
- Check Pinterest or Instagram for book lists and suggestions. Follow your kids’ interests or even introduce them to new topics.
- Play Summer Reading Bingo to add some variety to your reading routine.
- Download a Reading Scavenger Hunt and use the library to find new books.
Please Note :: While we make every effort to crosscheck current links and various business details on our guides, we always encourage you to do the same before making final plans. If details are missing or incorrect, please let us know so that we can make every attempt to correct them. And if you know of any other summer reading programs, please include them in the comments below!
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