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2023 Summer Reading Programs + FREE Books and Reading Resources

Summer Reading

Every summer I start out determined to plan out our summer days, do lots of hands-on educational activities, and be sure the kids spend lots of time reading. And then as soon as the carefree, relaxed days of summer set in, my resolve melts faster than ice cream on a hot summer day.

Don’t get me wrong, we still do plenty of activities at home and out of the house, I just know we could be doing more, especially being consistent about reading every day. This year’s plan? A Library Card, Little Free Libraries, and SUMMER READING PROGRAMS!

If you’re looking for new ways to keep your kids excited about reading during the summer months, we’ve got a list of resources for you including FREE summer reading programs for kids that allow your kids to earn prizes! To go along with these programs, we have a separate article with places to find free and inexpensive books in Lakeland + Polk County.

Library programs are also back in full force for Summer 2023 – check out our list of summer programs and storytimes at local libraries in Lakeland and Polk County.

FREE Summer Reading Programs {with prizes!}

Polk County Libraries Summer Reading Program 2023

Your Local Public Library

Make this your first stop for summer reading programs! All of the libraries in the Polk County Library Cooperative have summer reading incentives. Programs vary by library, check with your local library to pick up a reading log and find out about prizes for summer reading. If you are looking for a free summer reading program near you, the library is a fantastic option.

Click here to see a full list of library locations in Polk County.


Reading with the Rays

Kids can track their reading to earn a prize from the Tampa Bay Rays.

  • Visit the Reading with the Rays website or your local library in early June for your game card.
  • As you read, track your hours by rounding the bases on your game card. Ask your parent or guardian to initial your card as you reach each base. Bring it to your local library and the librarian will sign your card and give you a reading reward.
  • Hit a reading home run by reading for 24 hours and you can receive Reading with the Rays prizes!
  • Turn in your completed game card to your librarian and receive a voucher for two (2) free Lower Reserved tickets, to a future Rays game (subject to availability).

Click here for more info on Reading with the Rays.

Books a Million Summer Reading Program 2022

Books-A-Million Summer Reading Challenge – 2023

This year’s BAM Summer Reading Ambassador is Christopher Paolini – author of the popular The Inheritance Cycle series (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, Inheritance). Read 4 books from the Summer Reading Adventure Section in-stores and record them in your log (click here to print – look for the Summer Reading Adventure banner at the top). These do not have to be Christopher Paolini books, see the 2023 Summer Reading Adventure list on their website. Bring your completed log back to Books-A-Million and receive a free Eragon water bottle (while supplies last). Books-A-Million is located in Lakeside Village in Lakeland.

Click here for more details on the BAM Summer Reading Challenge

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program – 2023

Kids in grades 1 – 6 can earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps:

  1. Read any eight books this summer and record them in your Summer Reading Journal (Click here to print – look for the 2023 Summer Reading Journal link).
  2. Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between July 1 – August 31, 2023. Find a Store. (Our closest stores are in Brandon, Wesley Chapel, & Tampa)
  3. Choose your FREE reading adventure from the books list in the journal.

Learn more about the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

You might also like:

Summer Fun Guide

Be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun for Summer Camps, Things to Do Around Lakeland, Things to Do at Home, Open Playgrounds, Places to Play Outdoors, FREE Bowling, Swim Lessons, 4th of July Events, Reading programs, Online Camps, and much more!