FREE Summer Reading Clubs for Kids

DSCN2801It’s that time of year! Time for summer reading club! My family takes full advantage of all Jacksonville has to offer for summer reading clubs. Our favorite by far, and the first one we ever participated in, is the Jacksonville Public Library’s summer reading program. Even though it is geared for school-aged children, my twins have participated for at least three summers, probably four, and they are seven-years old now. The first year, I would read aloud to them and log their books for them. Now they are able to read their own books and log them on their own. My three-year-old also participates and will be completing her third summer! Summer reading programs have really helped encourage my family’s love for reading!

What I Love About Reading Clubs

Age Appropriate Reading Lists – Typically, the library will provide a list of picture books or age/grade level appropriate books. This helps us discover books that are “just right” for us. If I find a book we like, I will then check out other books from the same author. This is how we discovered our favorite author in Kindergarten, Mo Willems. If you have not read his books, you should definitely check them out. We enjoyed them the summer before Kindergarten when the twins were five years old. We also discovered other great authors like Emily Gravett, Lois Ehlert, Rob Scotton, and many more!

Reading Incentives – Who doesn’t love prizes? Most of the clubs have a prize if you log a very minimal number of books over the summer, I’m talking minimal like 10. Our library offers prizes every week (each branch is different so check yours out). Yes, most of it is Oriental Trading Company “junk”, but the kids look forward to finding out what it is. Our library also offers coupons for things like a free smoothie, free taco, free slushies, or free Italian ice. My kids favorite thing to do every summer is to help count all the books read by the book club. One year, the library used beans to keep track, another year it was pennies, and this past summer it was tickets that entered them in a raffle for a gift card. By the end of the summer, the kids could see jars full of beans, pennies, or tickets that represented the insane number of books read by all the kids at our branch!

Alternative Activities to Beat the Heat – Summer in Jacksonville is hot. It is nice for us to allocate one morning or afternoon a week to get out of the sun and hit the library. We have something to do that day, and we replenish our home library with new, interesting books to read another day.

Keeps Me Reading to My Kids – We spend long summer nights playing away in the water or sand and sometimes slack off on reading to our kids. Knowing they are doing the reading club gives me the incentive to read to them.

SummerReadingPicMonkeyPrograms in Jacksonville

Jacksonville Public Library’s Dig Into Reading – Register online and check in at your favorite branch. You set your own goal and choose the books you read. Incentives vary by library. We love our Beaches Branch! Registration isn’t the most user-friendly, but I promise you it’s worth it!  Program runs June 1, 2013 – August 16, 2013.  Registered participants ages Birth – 12 years who log at least 10 books, receive a FREE BOOK after August 1st.

Pottery Barn Kids – Download their summer reading list or pick one up at the store. Track your child’s progress, and when they finish print off a certificate of completion. Take your certificate into the store by August 26, 2013 to receive a free book. In prior years, we’ve gotten really nice hardcover Caldecott Medal winner books.

Books A Million – You read six books from their summer reading form and receive a free backpack (while supplies last). Complete by August 17, 2013.

Barnes & Noble – Read ANY eight books and record them in their summer reading journal. Bring the journal to a store near you by Sept 3, 2013, and choose a FREE BOOK from their selection from the reading journal!


Kathy is a Georgia girl who followed her surfer husband Chuck to the beaches of Jacksonville where she became mom to elementary-aged twins Sophie and Will, preschooler Lainey, and baby Henry! Stay at home mom and avid volunteer, Kathy truly believes in teaching her children to embrace the community, to depend on each other, and to serve one another. Kathy served for a decade in the Junior League of Jax and is in her third year serving on the executive board of the PTA where her children attend school. She is very active in her church, Neptune Baptist and has been involved in the MOMS Club of Jax Beach for over eight years. Kathy has learned so much in her career as a software consultant for Oracle, but is always amazed at the skills she has acquired as a mom and community volunteer. Kathy also enjoys running and completed her last marathon (#9) in 2011, but always wonders if she shouldn't just do another to have a good even 10 under her belt!


  1. Oppps you missed one! Lifeway Christian Bookstore also has a summer reading program! Jacksonville’s is at SJT! One in OP as well.


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