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Take advantage of these free summer reading programs for kids

Diane Ashoff has a background in mathematics and a keen eye for baby name trends. She lives with her husband and three children in Florida.

Summer reading challenges that will keep your kid's nose in a book

Motivating kids to read over the summer can be a bother if you have a reluctant reader on your hands.

Reading what you want when you want can be a fantastic escape, but being told what to read and when is kind of a drag. This is the predicament many parents and students will find themselves in this summer. School is finally out. The outdoors and video games are calling their names! Nobody wants homework right now, but reading is one of the best ways for kids to keep their school skills sharp over the summer. Fortunately tons of businesses understand the challenge of keeping kids reading over the summer and have designed incentive programs that even the most reluctant reader won't want to pass up.

Sylvan's Book Adventure

This fully online summer reading program gives parents a very hands-off role. Instead of keeping track of paper reading logs, children take online reading quizzes via the Book Adventure website. Passing quizzes earns them points to trade in for prizes like free e-books or three months of Highlights magazine.

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Scholastic Summer Reading ChallengeEvery summer, Scholastic pairs up with schools to encourage children to read as many minutes over the summer as possible. The goal this year is to break 304,749,681 minutes of reading time nationwide. As your children log minutes read, they can earn virtual prizes and help their schools make it onto the national leaderboard.

Barnes & Noble's Imagination's Destination

The summer reading incentive program from Barnes & Noble couldn't be simpler — print out a reading log for your child. When he has read eight books, take the log into your local Barnes & Noble store and choose a free book from this year's selections. Printable reading journals are available in both English and Spanish.

Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program

HPB FYBHalf Price Books runs the Feed Your Brain promotion through June and July for students of all ages — even high schoolers. Younger grades log minutes: 300 minutes read in a month earns them a $5 Bookworm Bucks credit to use in the store. High schoolers can earn the same for writing a short book review.

Summer Quest Reading Adventure

Books-A-Million wants to help your reader fall in love with fantasy this summer with their themed Summer Quest reading program. Kids must read four books from the approved list of 100 popular titles to earn a free Camp Half-Blood tote bag of Percy Jackson fame.

Reading Rewards

Reading Rewards strives to turn even the most resistant reader into a book lover with parent-selected incentives for meeting reading goals. While the program itself doesn't provide your child with prizes beyond time earned to play their online games, you as parent can schedule rewards of your choice. Want to let them earn one minute of screen time for every five minutes spent reading? This program makes it easy to keep track and reward your child by your own design.

Book It! Summer Reading Challenge

Book It!

Pizza Hut offers a great interactive online experience for readers every summer via their Book It! program. The more children read, the more prizes they will earn. This summer's program runs June 22 to Aug. 14.

Local Libraries

Stop into your neighborhood library's children's department and find out if they have a summer reading incentive program. The Collaborative Summer Library Program provides themed resources to libraries across the country to help them design a summer reading program that will suit their specific community. This summer's theme, "Every Hero Has a Story," encourages libraries to incorporate superheroes into literacy.

More on summer parenting

Reasons why summer parenting rules
Last-chance summer activities for your child
Tips to stop summer sibling spats

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