summer readingPhoto by Alejandro Escamilla

Summer is almost here and that means it’s time for one of my very favorite things: summer reading programs. When I was a little girl, I couldn’t wait to sign up for our town’s summer reading program, and every year I read as fast as I could so I could earn the big prize right away: getting my name listed in the newspaper. More importantly, those summers I spent reading in my local library helped instill a lifelong love of reading.

Now that I’m a parent of two little readers, I’m trying to pass that same love of books and summer reading on. Summer reading programs have grown quite a bit since I was a little girl, and the prizes have grown more exciting. Kids in the DC area can read to earn free books, water bottles, and baseball tickets. The big prize remains the same, though: discovering the joy of curling up with a great book.

Here are some of the many places you can find summer reading programs in the DC area this year:

Arlington Public Library: Read to the Rhythm
When: June 6-September 12, 2015
How to sign up:

Kids, teens, and adults can join the summer reading program at APL – and for every person who completes the program, the Friends of the Arlington Public Library will donate $1 to The Reading Connection.

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading: Imagination’s Destination
When: May 19-September 7, 2015
How to sign up:

Want to earn a free book at Barnes and Noble this summer? Young readers who record eight books in Barnes and Noble’s Imagination’s Destination Journal and offer their recommendations on each book get to choose from a list of free books at participating stores. Books included in the offer are aimed at children in first through sixth grades.

DC Public Library: Every Hero Has a Story
When: May 30-August 31, 2015
How to sign up:

Readers of all ages are welcome to join in the fun at DCPL. All kids and teens who complete their summer reading goal will win two tickets to a Washington Nationals Baseball game. Kids, teens, and adults who complete the summer reading challenge will win free food from Chipotle as well.

Fairfax County Public Library: Read to the Rhythm
How to sign up:

Preschoolers through high school aged readers can earn a coupon book with prizes including free and discounted items by completing their summer reading goals. FCPL also has events planned for families, kids, teens and adults throughout the summer.

Frederick County Public Libraries: Summer of Wonder
When: May 1-August 31, 2015
How to sign up:

Kids, teens, and adults can get in on the fun here! Prizes include a chance to win sky box seats at a Frederick Keys game, a bookstore gift card, and a grand prize camping experience at Cunningham Falls State Park.

Montgomery County Public Libraries: Every Hero Has a Story
When: June 1-August 9, 2015
How to sign up:

MCPL’s program includes recommendations based on your child’s age and interests. Readers earn badges along the way, and prizes include Frederick Keys baseball tickets, water bottles, free books, and a chance to win tickets to the Maryland Science Center and a Baltimore Orioles game. Adults can also sign up and track their own summer reading progress!


Allison writes about life at home in the Maryland suburbs at Home and Never Alone. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.