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2024 Summer Reading Clubs for Kids and Teens

Kelly Jensen

Editor

Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

‘Tis the season of long days, warm weather, and — for some! — kids and teens talking about how bored they are. But whether you’ve got a summer of fun planned or are juggling the realities of being a full-time working parent/guardian without the benefit of school or child care to help ease the burden of doing the impossible, there are plenty of opportunities for young people to find a good book to dive into. It is the season of summer reading clubs for kids and teens, and the 2024 options out there offer something for every kind of young reader.

Let’s take a look at several options to help children and teens discover new-to-them books to read for pleasure. All of the summer reading clubs for 2024 below are free to join or participate in, and many of them come with the added bonus of having prizes or incentives for reading (and many of those prizes happen to be the best kind of prizes: more books!).

Your Local Public Library

For some, this will be the most obvious inclusion on the list, but it might not be for everyone!

If you are lucky enough to have a public library near you, chances are strong that they have some kind of summer reading club for children and/or teens ready and waiting. These programs range from being challenges, such as reading a variety of books across different themes or topics, or they might involve counting pages, time, or number of books read.

My local library, for example, has different challenges depending on the age of the child. The youngest complete logs that track books read and various literacy-related activities, while older readers are encouraged to track how many books they read. As those logs and trackers fill up, young people are encouraged to bring those logs back into the library and pick up any number of prizes. The biggest prizes for children and teens include free books and entries into various raffles for bigger prizes.

Bonus: a lot of public libraries also have adult reading programs you can take part in as well. Sign up your kids, then see if you can sign yourself up for a challenge. One year, I won what was one of my all-time favorite prizes for participating in summer reading: a cruise of a local lake that included an ice cream sundae. It was such a fun thing to take my best friend to and all because I read a few books I was going to read anyway.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

For readers who live near a Barnes & Noble, why not take part in their Summer Reading Program? It is free to join, and it includes free books as prizes.

Geared to those in grades 1-6, readers will complete a reading journal (available here in English and here in Spanish). Once a reader finishes eight books, they can take that journal to their local Barnes & Noble and pick out one free book from the linked lists between July and August. The free titles this year are not bad at all!

There is a limit on this program, meaning that young readers can only redeem their logs for one free book. But this is where you can get clever and creative — there’s no reason that you cannot double up the books read in this program with those read for a local library’s summer reading club. Read eight books for the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Club, redeem your free book, and then count those eight books (and/or any additional books read during the time!) for your library’s club.

Half Price Books Summer Reading Camp

Whether or not you’re near a Half Price Books, your young readers can take part in the company’s Summer Reading Camp, which launches June 1 and runs through the end of July. You can register for it right here.

The program encourages reading through a series of book lists, a reading log, activities, and coloring pages all summer long. In addition, those who take part can earn $5 in “Bookworm Bucks” in both June and July, which equates to $5 that can be spent on books in stores during those books. Reading to earn more books? What a win.

Although the program is for children and teens, anyone can participate. That includes teachers, educators, and book lovers nationwide. All you need to do is sign up, and you, too, can be eligible for those sweet little $5 rewards in June and July.

Grab all of the information you need over on the Summer Reading Camp website.

Camp BOOK IT!

Adult readers of a certain generation likely remember the thrill of reading and being rewarded for it with a delicious personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. Although not exactly the same, Camp BOOK IT! is a parent-led summer reading program that encourages young people from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade to read books toward, well, a free personal pan pizza.

With Camp BOOK IT!, children and their parents set a reading goal for the months of June, July, and August. As more books and other reading materials are consumed during the summer, keep track of the progress. When children meet their goal, they’ll be rewarded with a certificate for that yummy pizza.

Camp BOOK IT! has a wealth of resources and tools for a summer of reading. To sign up, you’ll go through the enrollment, selecting the option for enrolling in the summer program (yellow), followed by “sign up for Camp BOOK IT!”

There’s nothing against doubling up your reading from other programs with this one to reach a goal and end your summer with free pizza!

Read With Jenna Jr

Jenna Bush’s book club picks might be popular among adults, but during the summer, young readers can select from dozens of books that have earned the Jenna seal of approval, too. Bush is a big reader and has been an advocate for good books for kids, as she loves to read with her three kids, ages 11, 8, and 4.

There’s no formal challenge or prizes to be redeemed, but this list is a treasure trove of modern reads, from picture book to young adult. The criteria for the list, which was created in conjunction with the Collaborative Summer Library Program — one of the organizations behind the themes you might see at your local library’s summer reading program — is simply “books that are impossible to put down.”

Check out the full list below and/or download a copy for yourself.

read with henna junior 2024 summer reading list image.

You could easily use this list to help guide what to pick up at the library/bookstore for your respective prize earning.

Jenna’s picks offer a wide range of titles, and she herself has talked about how sometimes, her oldest chooses books that might make her, as a parent, slightly uncomfortable because of their themes. But instead of refusing to let her daughter read them or insisting that those books be banned or inaccessible, Jenna instead reads those books with her daughter and discusses them.

As she said to Today.com following the release of her Read With Jenna Jr. list, “I would so much rather my kids read something and get to come to their mom’s bedside and say, ‘Hey Mom, I didn’t quite get this,’ and me be able to lead the conversation than her having ‘influencers’ do that for her.”

Summer of Action-Packed Pages from Reading Is Fundamental

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is the largest literacy nonprofit for children in the U.S., and its summer reading club is one that encourages children and their adults to read and experience books together. The club offers dozens of book recommendations and pairs them with activities perfect for filling those long summer afternoons. You can download a reading log to track all of the books your young readers enjoy.

Book recommendations are collected in eight categories on their website, including on-the-go books featuring travel and movement, fun in-the-kitchen books featuring food and cooking, and books that take place under the stars and/or in space. Each category includes an activity corresponding to it. For travel and movement, young people and their adults are invited to watch a video about dune buggies; for food and cooking, they’re encouraged to create a new recipe and plan a week of meals; and for under the stars, they’re able to create their own constellation.

Check out all of the lists, activities, and events–including weekly read aloud times from RIF staff — over on the Reading Is Fundamental website. Note that this program is geared toward younger readers, rather than teen readers.

Scholastic Summer Reading Home Base

Also geared toward the younger crowd is Scholastic’s Summer Reading program, dubbed Home Base. From mid-May until mid-September, young readers are welcome to play around in Scholastic’s Home Base, a digital space moderated for safety and that encourages reading and creative exploration tied to some of the publisher’s most beloved properties.

Home Base includes opportunities for reading books and stories, playing games based on some of their favorite books, getting to engage with some of their favorite authors, and more.

There is also a reading challenge embedded in Home Base. Kids are encouraged to track their reading and as they build up reading streaks, they’re able to earn digital rewards through the program. This can help them earn more digital experiences in Home Base.

Home Base is available through the App store, through Google Play, or right in browser. It is arguably the least angled on reading books among the clubs listed here, but it will likely have huge appeal for those readers who might be a little more reluctant and/or who simply prefer to play around in the worlds of the stories they love. There’s nothing wrong with educational and enriching digital fun!


One other summer reading club that might offer up more information soon is one through Showcase Cinema, called Bookworm Wednesdays. It entitles young readers and their parent/guardians to a free movie showing on Wednesday mornings by showing off a short book report on their reading. Information about that program on their website is from 2023, though it indicates it will be back in 2024. Keep your eyes here for more information.

Looking for more summer fun with the young people in your life? Here are 15 excellent summer reading program ideas you can try out this upcoming season.