Say what you want about Barnes and Noble’s fifty-fifty ration of books to coffee mugs/pens/calendars/candles, but the company keeps one really great program going. Its summer reading program offers kids a free book in exchange for reading eight books over the summer, which on the surface might seem counterintuitive from a reluctant reader standpoint (yay, the reward for doing a ton of work is…more work).
However, incorporating the competitive edge aspect to it actually works well for readers of a wide variety of ages and abilities. Libraries across the country are gearing up for their own summer reading programs, and along with B&N, Scholastic, and some other mainstays in kids’ books, the goal is to fight the dreaded summer slide that results in a drop in measurable academic gains from the previous school year.
For its part, B&N has a recommendation page of high-interest kids’ books by authors like JK Rowling and Rick Riordan, broken down by both readability level and age-appropriate suggestions for content matter. Parents can simply download the reading journal, which can be redeemed between May 16th and September 5th; there’s also a PDF link for teachers and schools to print out and share with their students before the end of the school year.
Ideally, collaboration across the grade levels would result in next year’s teacher helping previous year’s students with this goal. Students can return their completed reading logs to the teacher at the start of the next school year, and begin the year with a project focused on all of the books the students read over the summer.
For more information about the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program, including printable reading journals, take a look at their webpage and educator portal. For additional resources to earn free books this summer, see the following article on The Balance.