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2020 Summer Reading Programs & FREE Books to Read Online

Inspire kids to read with these Summer Reading Programs and FREE online books for kids, tweens and teens!

I’ve been pulling together some great resources for FREE summer activities near me this year.  It’s been one heck of a few months so I was THRILLED when I saw so many libraries and bookstores will be hosting summer reading programs this year!

PLUS, we also found some awesome online sites that are offering TONS of FREE ebooks & online reading material this summer too!  Take a peek at some of the fun programs, free books and prizes kids can earn just for picking up a book this summer.


2020 Summer Reading Programs & Free Online Books for Kids

I always love the announcement of summer reading programs — it reminds me to get started on my booklists for summer AND pull out the hammock for those lazy reading afternoons 😉 

This year, especially, with the number of virtual learning days many schools had to implement, it’s important to keep kids reading prevent that summer slide. Kids can sign up for multiple programs (we usually do the library program along with one of our local bookstores too) and earn some cool stuff.

Below we’ve outlined all the details for the popular reading programs along with affiliate links for some of our favorite books and reading items — be sure to search locally for summer reading programs near you for additional regional summer programs for your city or region. 


2020 Summer Library Programs Near Me

First, be sure to sign kids, tweens and teens up for summer reading at your local library! 

Many libraries will use the Collaborative Summer Reading Programs theme — Imagine Your Story!  which celebrates fairy tales, mythology and fantasy literature! There will be a lot of writing activities, books you can pair with fun crafts and learning ideas too.

Any traditional or contemporary fairy tale along with popular fantasy books (we highly recommend Inkheart and Ella Enchanted) along with the many mythology-themed chapter books by Rick Riordian are perfect books to add to your summer reading list this year.

And be sure to check out our 12 Fantastic Fractured Fairy Tales book list too!

Young listeners, kids & teenagrs can read ANY book they’d like for the reading programs and libraries will have a paper log or online log where they can record their books.  All libraries offer different incentives but most really hit it big over the summer to keep kids of all ages — toddlers to teens — reading and prevent the summer slide!

If you like to have e-books available, download the FREE Kindle Reading app that can be used on almost any phone or tablet! 

Also be sure to sign up for the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited FREE Trial!!  Kids ages 3 – 12 will have access to all types of ebooks and audiobooks along with educational apps & their favorite learning tv shows too!

There’s also an awesome Teen Video Challenge too — teens can create their own video to promote reading (60 seconds or less) and win prizes!  See the details about the Teen Video Challenge here.


Barnes and Noble 2020 Summer Reading Program

Kids in 1st – 6th grades can read 8 books this summer, download the 2020 reading journal & turn it in for a free book with the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading program!

I love that B&N always includes both newer titles like How to Steal a Dog (LOVED this story!) and The Magic Misfits along with classic books Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and The Secret Garden (some of our all-time faves!) as some of their reading rewards!  So even if your kids are set on reading the same type of books all summer, they are encouraged to ‘branch out’ to something new when choosing their free item.

Kids can turn in their 2020 reading log between July 1st and August 31st.


2019 Half price books summer reading log for kids and teens

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2020 Half Price Books Summer Reading

Feed Your Brain is one of the few summer reading programs for kids & teens of all ages!!  The Feed Your Brain summer reading program encourages kids ages up to 14 to read and turn in logs during June & July.  Younger kids can be read to while older kids who can read on their own will record their reading time each month.  

Both kids & teens earn Bookworm bucks (basically in-store gift certificates to use at local Half Price Books) to buy their favorite items!

Teens can also participate by reading any book & submitting an online review to earn their freebies! They are still updating the details for 2020 — currently you can find coloring pages but reading logs are coming soon!


SYNC Free Summer Audiobooks for Teens

SYNC offers FREE audiobooks for teens and the programs has already begun! Every May – August, teenagers ages 13+ can download FREE audio books from SYNC each week during the summer.

There are two books offered each week with a nice variety of titles.  Books are compatible with IOS, Android, Kindle and Windows. A few books that come highly recommended for teens include: The 57 Bus (week 1) and Stalking Jack the Ripper (week 3).  ** Remember, these are YA titles so even if you have an advanced reader in the house, be sure to review the content so you know it’s appropriate for your child.

Teens need to check back weekly for new titles but you can see ALL the offerings and hear a quick snip from each book before they’re realeased for the free download.


2020 Scholastic Summer Read-a-palooza

Beginning May 4th, kids can register to log minutes & unlock rewards on the Scholastic Summer Read-a-palooza site and for 2020, there’s also a brand new website called Scholastic Home Base.  One of the reasons I LOVE this program is that kids read to DONATE books (a great summer kindness or volunteer project!)

The new site allows kids to choose their own avatar, play games, track reading goals and interact with favorite book characters too. Summer Read-A-Poooza features will only be available for a limited time- from May 4th – September 7th.


Free Online Books for Kids and Teens: Summer 2020

Even if your library is closed this summer, there are a LOT of websites and organizations who want to keep kids reading.

Summer slide is a BIG issue — kids who stop reading over the summer months have a much harder time getting back into the swing of it (along with classroom learning) once school starts back up in the Fall.  So we’ve rounded up some wonderful places to find FREE ebooks and read alouds online for kids & families! has some AMAZING free books to listen too and their site states that “For as long as schools are closed, we’re open.”  Choose from picture books, classics, chapter book series like Harry Potter and more!

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, be sure to use your Prime Reading benefits for FREE books & to check-out books this summer!

Abdo Digital Bookshelf has free access to hundreds of titles (many of them non-fiction and classic books)!  Use the drop-down menus for “Grade Group” and “Format” to find ebooks, books that are read to kids and interactive stories too.

Prime First Reads also offers members early access & one FREE book each month on Kindle (including children’s books!)

Nat Geo Kids is offering free access to articles from their current magazines (along with lots of online games and free printables too!)

Tumblebooks is offering free access to schools & libraries for the 2020 summer — check with your kdis to see if they already have a school account.  If not, let your child’s school know they can sign up for free!

PBS Kids has picture book read along videos each week with favorite authors & celebs – great for ages 3 – 6 years!

Storytime from Space has astronauts reading kids books with a great variety of STEM stories!

And be sure to check the online resources are your local library too!!  They often have a number of ebooks or apps that allow everyone to read for free!


Fun Book Lists for Summer Reading

Looking for ideas on WHAT to read this Summer? Here are a few of our favorite book lists:

12 Multicultural STEM Books for Kids (picture books)

Around the World in 30 Books: A Reading Trip Across the Globe (picture books)

10 Beach Books to Read Aloud (picture books & chapter books)

15 Classic Summer Books (picture books & chapter books)