12 Summer Reading Programs around Houston

This school year has not been typical by any means. Whether you and your kids thrived or whether your family struggled with the changes, one thing is for sure:: the end is in sight! As we wind down what we hope will be the only school year of its kind, we can look forward to giving our children some semblance of familiarity. Even though this summer may still not completely resemble those of the beforetime, one thing kids can still look forward to are the summer reading programs around town.

Some of these will look different than in years past, but encouraging kids to read while school is out is crucial in helping them stay on track and avoid the dreaded academic summer slide. Check out our other tips at the bottom of the list for creative ways to keep literacy in the mix this summer.

12 Summer Reading Programs around Houston12 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. Sign up on Beanstack and 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. The program is open for ages 0-18.

2} Harris County Public Library

The Summer Reading Program theme this year is Tails and Tales and will run from June 7- August 7. Not only can readers will track and meet their reading goal for prizes, but children and parents alike can take advantage of the free online programs throughout the summer.  In addition, they will again host ART CAMP, in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, where patrons can sign up and pick up their art kit and follow along at home with weekly art lessons. HCPL will also provide free monthly themed craft activities available at Curbside pick-up at local library locations.

3} Fort Bend Public Library

“Tails & Tales ” is this year’s theme for FBCL’s annual summer reading program, which runs this year from May 31 – 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

Kids who love screen time will love this summer reading challenge from Scholastic. By creating an account on Home Base, kids can join a community of readers online where they can read books and stories; attend weekly author events; interact with their favorite characters; play book-based games and activities; join dance parties; and more! Kids will have fun logging their reading time to unlock online stories and earn virtual rewards. The longer a child extends their reading streak, the more digital experiences they earn, including unlocking a donation of 100,000 books from Scholastic to Save the Children.

5} Book Adventure from Sylvan

Book Adventure does not provide access to actual books or digital books, but 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 book, 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 will be most helpful 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 SUPER WHY Reading Camp

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. There are themed weeks complete with printables and extension activities as well.

7} P.A.W.S Reading Program {HMNS at Sugar Land}

Although the P.A.W.S. Reading Program has not been reinstated yet as of publishing, check their Facebook page for updates. The program allowed kids to practice reading skills by reading to trained therapy dogs! These furry friends can provide a boost of confidence, and this event can be great motivation for animal lovers. In the meantime, team members accompanied by P.A.W.S. furry friends have been “helping” to record stories for kids to enjoy. Find them on their Facebook page as well. 

8} Half-Price Books

Half-Price Books presents Summer Reading Camp, where online campers and their trusty guardians, can get their fill of fun reads and activities to keep busy during lazy days of summer!

9} Barnes and Noble

Download the journal, and begin reading! After reading 8 books and completing the journal, bring it to a Barnes and Noble store in July and August for a free book. Kids choose a free book from the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program selections which often includes a list of choices for each reading level.

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

HEB knows that “Texas summers are made for adventures, and some of the best adventures you find are in books, so find a stack of books and start exploring.” Read and log 10 books to mail in for a special prize. You have until October 1 to get in your 10 good reads. 

12} Pizza Hut & Camp Book It

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. Enrollment not opened yet but you can sign up for newsletter alerts to make sure you don’t forget. 


And Here’s A Little Extra…

  • Watch some YouTube recordings of their favorite tales. The Scholastic Storybook Treasures channel lets you choose from dozens of classic picture books as well as Scholastic favorites read in Mandarin or Spanish!
  • Download a free book on your Kindle to get kids hooked- from summer reading programs and beyond. You can find lots of children’s e-books at the public library.
  • Try audiobooks! 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 :: pick out a new book, go on an adventure, create a snack that reminds you of your favorite book, or see a movie that corresponds with your favorite story.
  • 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.

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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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Vicky grew up in Miami, graduated from Boston University, and moved to New York City to work in advertising. She and her husband then had a marvelous adventure abroad, which included the birth of their older son. After almost four years in Beijing, they headed to her husband's hometown of Houston. Their daughter made her debut a few months later and their younger son joined the ranks several years after that. Vicky loves family life and all the adventures, laughs, and lessons that come with it. Though busy raising three kids, she tries to sneak time to tend to her tiny urban garden and come up with ideas to continually make her home a haven. Vicky has been slightly obsessed with raising monarch butterflies in recent years. She’s a writer and communications consultant who dreams of days where she can simply sit by the pool reading a book and drinking lemonade.

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