Free Loot for Readers: Chicagoland Summer Reading Programs


My kid is pretty much eating books alive these days, and since she hangs around with me all the time she already loves free stuff. What does it say about me as a mom that I'm AT LEAST as proud of her freebie-lust as I am of her reading prowess?

Here are some of the summer reading programs on offer around here, and the rewards your kids can get for participating:

Chicago Public Library

Dates: June 15-August 8

They have to: Read or listen to 25 picture books if ages 3-9, read 10 chapter books if ages 9-14.

Goods: Free T-shirt.

Barnes & Noble

Dates: May 26-Sept. 7

They have to: Read 8 books and write about favorite parts in printable journal.

Goods: Coupon for a free book.

Half-Price Books

Dates: Through July 31

They have to: Read 15 minutes a day and record on printable log.

Goods: $3 gift card EVERY WEEK that they read on five days. You have to go get the card each week.

Borders (

Dates: May 26 to August 31

They have to: Read 8 books and record on printable worksheet.

Goods: 50% or more off selected items. 

After looking all these over, I'd say Half-Price Books has the best deal, IF you have one very near you. In the 8 weeks between now and the end of the program, you could accumulate $24 in gift cards per child.

Since we don't have one nearby, I may sign up with Barnes & Noble. The list of free books includes a Fancy Nancy title, so my kid will be happy. The site SAYS it's for kids grades 1 through 6, and my little reader is only going into kindergarten, but what are they going to do, card her? 

We'll also sign up at our local library here in Oak Park, which had pretty good rewards last year -- a free book and a gift certificate to Buona. But they don't have info about their program online so I'm not sure what they're handing out this year.

What's your local library doing? Any local bookstores with good programs?




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Alice Truong said:


Seeing as how your kid loves free things, I came across this list of when kids eat free (It wouldn't surprise me if you've seen/contributed to this list):

Carrie Kirby said:


Alice, this is awesome, thanks!

caitlin giles said:

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This is awesome information Carrie.

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