Twin Cities Summer Reading Programs – 2018

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Where do your kids fall in the summer reading spectrum? Whether they love to read or hate it or are somewhere in between, there is probably a program out there for them. If they are ambitious, they can participate in several. There is no rule that kids can’t use the same books for several programs.

2017 Summer Reading Programs

A couple years ago, I did some research on the reality of the income-based achievement gap and how parents can Increase their Child’s Chances in School with a few Simple, Budget-Friendly Habits. Summer reading is another place where the achievement gap grows. However, the fix is offering your kids easy access to a lot of books and empowering them to select their own reading materials.This is where summer reading programs can come in handy.

The following are few programs we found plus our own:

Summer Reading with Bookhounds

Become a BookHound with FFTC BookHounds Family Book Club Summer Program. BookHounds wants to help you read together, play together, learn together, meet together, and discover together. This summer we are hosting live summer program on Wednesdays in June from 10am to 11am at GoodKids in White Bear Lake.

BookHounds is sponsored by Good Kids and Lu and Bean Read Podcast. You can play with us live or enjoy the club online as well.

Click Here to Learn More about FFTC BookHounds


Summer Reading Programs through MELSA libraries

Twin Cities Library Summer Reading Program

Bookawocky Summer Reading Program

Roseville library

Bookawocky is the summer reading program that most of the MELSA libraries use. This is where you can find links to the various programs each library is offering. Generally, the programs consist of library events, book recommendations and other incentives to read.


Summer Reading Programs at Local* Book Stores

  • Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program • Kids can earn a free book by reading eight books over the summer. 
  • Half Price Books Feed Your Brain • Kids can log their reading minutes. Once they reach 300 minutes they can earn “bookworm bucks”.
  • Red Balloon Reading Without Walls Challenge • The Red Balloon’s Reading Without Walls Challenge. Pick up a summer reading bingo card and complete reading and activity challenges to fill in the squares. These challenges invite you to explore books outside your usual areas of interest and to party at your favorite local bookstore! As you start collecting bingos, you’ll earn your way to prizes from Red Balloon and other Grand Avenue businesses. Blackout all the squares on your bingo card and return it to Red Balloon by August 27 and you’ll be invited to the Super Secret End of Summer Party! .
  • Wild Rumpus BooksSummer Reading Bingo is back for 2018. Fill in a row of five squares to receive a free recycled book of your choice, or go for a full blackout by filling in every square for a $5.00 gift certificate.

*Local, in this article, simply means that there is a physical bookstore located in the Twin Cities.


Online Summer Reading Programs

  • Brightly Summer Reading Fun for Tweens • This is more of a summer reading aid than a summer reading program, but it is a nice tool to have. Brightly (which is part of Penguin Random House) offers reading lists, tips, activities and a Summer Reading C to download.
  • Scholastic Magical Summer of Reading Program • This program started already on May 7th! Kids can earn rewards by logging reading minutes.
  • Sylvan Book Adventure • I believe this was my favorite program. Unfortunately, it is ending June 30, 2018. You can still check out their Kid’s Zone or download a PDF of suggested summer books to read
  • Sync Audiobook Program for Teens • This free summer audiobook program for teens gives away two complete audiobook downloads each week. This program started in April, so if you sign up now, you’ll  have missed a few titles already.
  • Dr. Seuss Word Challenge • Keep track of words read with the Word-Counter-Upper to help reach the combined goal of 20 million word. Enter to win prizes. (Note: When signing up, make sure you put in an adult birth year and not your kid’s birth year, or it will not let you sign up at that time. After making this mistake, I came back a day later and was able to try again.)
  • Lu & Bean Read – Summer Book Hunts • Lu & Bean Read‘s 2017 Summer Book Hunt Checklists are still available to download. The Scavenger Hunt encourages kids to find and read books about summer (ie: a book about the sun); and the Treasure Hunt challenges kids to search out award winning books.


Other Summer Reading Incentives:
  • Chuck E. Cheese • Print off the Reading Rewards Calendar, mark off “every day that your kids is awesome” and your kid gets 10 free tokens. I guess the parent gets to decide what constitutes “awesome”. There are other rewards calendars in this program, too.
  • American Girls Summer Reading Challenge • Print this bookmark and aim to read the 5 types of books on the challenge. Parents provide the incentive with this challenge.
  • Library of Congress – A Book That Shaped Me • I was disappointed that this program is not offered in our area. But you could still have your kid write an essay on a book that has had a personal impact.
  • Thursday Rockin Readers at Nicollet Commons • On Thursdays, local principals stop by for a story time before a family-friendly concert.
  • Minnesota State Fair • Don’t forget to finish off your summer of reading at the fair with Read and Ride Day, which is Wednesday, August 29, 2018.
  • Reading Logs • For kids who like to write it all down, pick up a reading log or journal, like the one pictured below from Amazon.
Chart summer reading in a reading log

Amazon affiliate link

*Amazon links are affiliate links and Family Fun Twin Cities receives a small commission on any purchases through our site.


We will keep our eyes open and add on to this list if we find other programs. 

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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for FamilyFunTwinCities.com.

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.

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