I learned at a young age that reading books can be addicting. When I was about 12 years old, I decided that I wanted to read Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer. I started reading the book a week after school let out. Within ten pages, I was hooked and I couldn’t put the book down for a solid week. From the moment I woke up in the morning until the moment I went to sleep at night, all I wanted to do was read Tom Sawyer. The book consumed my life until I finished it.
Similarly, I have lost countless hours in wonderful books like the Harry Potter Series, the Lord of the Rings, and anything by the late Tom Clancy. These books have the power to capture the reader within the storyline and transport them to another time or place.
Today’s kids do not seem to be as captivated by books as we were in the past. One reason may be that there are so many other distractions like television and video games that prevent young readers from getting hooked. Alternatively, maybe young people today just have not yet discovered the joys of reading.
Fortunately, many businesses and organizations believe in the importance of encouraging children to read. Several of them offer free books or other awards to kids who sign up and complete certain challenges. Here are a few that we’ve found:
- Pottery Barn Kids – And you thought they just sold furniture. This summer, Pottery Barn Kids is offering children 10 and under a free book, contingent upon reading every book on the company’s reading list. There are actually two lists, one for early readers and one for independent readers. The lists include great children’s books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and A Pirates Guide to First Grade. The program runs from now until August 26th.
- Chuck E. Cheese – Another non-traditional entrant into the summer reading space is the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain. Their program encourages children of any age to practice reading daily for two weeks. They even provide a calendar to track the progress. Kids that return their completed calendar to the restaurant will receive 10 free tokens.
- Barnes and Nobel – This popular bookstore has run a summer program the last few years in order to encourage kids to read more. This year’s program is called “Imagination Destination” and is limited to kids in grades 1 through 6. To win a free book, readers are required to first complete eight other works and track the titles in a reading journal.
- Half Price Books – This bookstore chain actually offers a twist on the traditional summer reading model: instead of tracking reading by the book, Half Price Books tracks it by the minute. Kids that read 300 minutes during June and July will earn a free $5 gift card each month. This program is limited to children 14 and under.
- TD Bank – Our last summer reading program is sponsored by a bank. The program requires kids to read 10 books and track them in a summer reading log. Once the log is complete, participants simply return the form to the bank to claim a $10 reward. There is one catch though – the $10 will be deposited in a “Young Saver” account. If your child does not have an account, be sure to take your photo ID so you can open one.
For parents that are interested in maximizing their reading returns this summer, why not sign up for all 5 programs? The books that kids read for Pottery Barn can also be counted for TD Bank and Half Price Books. Better yet, why not sign your child up for the Brain Chase Summer Learning Challenge? The Brain Chase dashboard will keep track of all the books read as part of the Challenge, which in turn can be used to complete the requirements of these other summer programs.
In addition, Brain Chase will provide additional incentive for children to keep reading through an interactive global treasure hunt. Clues to the location of a $10,000 scholarship fund are only revealed when participants log 15 minutes of reading each day.
If you would like to learn more about Brain Chase and the benefits gained from teaching your child to love reading, please visit our website today.