12 of the Best Summer Reading Programs for Houston Kids


The Best Summer Reading Programs for Houston Kids. A photograph of a family reading on bean bag chairs in a library. Logo: Houston moms blog.

Summer is practically here. I mean, really, it’s getting so hot, you can taste it! School is wrapping up, swim teams are rolling, splash pads are in full swing, and you’ve got your eyes on summer camps and VBS. Phew! It’s going to be a fun one.

But with all of that activity, kids will need some down time for relaxing {with an added educational bonus}. There are quite a few summer reading programs that are easily accessible and great motivation for grabbing a book when boredom hits. I’ve got a list of these programs today, as well as a few other “tools” and tips I’ve stumbled upon for engaging kids in reading.

12 of the Best Summer Reading Programs for Houston Kids


1} Houston Public Library

Register now for this amazing program which starts June 1. Readers can earn prizes at 30 book level, including Houston area museum passes. Families can also participate together, and upon completion, each family is entered to win a family prize pack.

2} Harris County Public Library

This summer reading program will run from June 6- August 6, and they’ve got separate programs for babies, children, teens, and adults. Check the website for free events and activities throughout the summer.

3} Fort Bend Public Library

“A Universe of Stories” is this year’s theme for FBCL’s annual summer reading program, which runs this year from May 27 – August 31. Children and adults of all ages to participate. Grab your kids, grab some books, and get to earning rewards together.

4} Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Challenge

This program is great motivation for kids who love the screen! Scholastic is encouraging kids to be a reading superhero and log minutes all summer to unlock online stories and earn rewards. Parents can also jump on board and find free book lists and activities to encourage time together.

5} Book Adventure from Sylvan

Kids in grades K-8 can read books online, take quizzes on them, and earn points for prizes. Parents can monitor each kid’s progress and also access resources to encourage reading. Book Adventure seems to be a year-round program, but will be most helpful during the long days of summer. They also include a summer reading list summer reading list with books listed by grade levels for help in choosing titles.

6} TD Bank

With a program perhaps geared for kids in K-5, TD bank provides a list of books to help kids learn about money, saving, and banking. Kids can keep track of books on the free summer reading log, and after 10 books they can take the completed form to a nearby TD Bank and get $10 deposited into a new or existing young savers account.

7} PBS SUPER WHY Reading Camp

This camp has preschoolers and early elementary written all over it. There are themed weeks complete with printables and extension activities.

8} P.A.W.S Reading Program {HMNS at Sugar Land}

Trade regular summer reading program rewards for something a bit more internal. On Fridays and Saturdays at 10 am, kids can practice reading skills by reading to trained therapy dogs. These furry friends can provide a boost of confidence, and this event can be great motivation for animal lovers.

9} Half-Price Books

Half-Price Books is helping to Feed Your Brains this summer with their reading log. Kids 14 and under can log 300 minutes {solo or with a parent/guardian} to earn bucks for purchasing new books. Teens can choose a book from HPB’s selection, write a short review, and also earn books towards more books!

10} Barnes and Noble

Download the journal, and begin reading! After reading 8 books and completing and turning in their journal at a Barnes and Noble store, kids can choose a free book from the Barnes and Noble selection.

11} Chuck E. Cheese

So maybe you’ve got a kindergartener you are encouraging to read, a three-year-old who could use a boost in listening skills, and a two-year-old who might be working on potty training. With the rewards calendar, you can make reading part of your summer, but also encourage a variety of good behaviors and earn tokens for play place visits. I may or may not take advantage of this one.

12} HEB

HEB knows that “Texas summers are made for adventures, and some of the best adventures you find are in books, so find a stack of books and start exploring.” Read and log 10 books to mail in for a fun t-shirt reward.

And Here’s A Little Extra…

  • Download a free book on your Kindle to get kids hooked- from summer reading programs and beyond.
  • Try audiobooks!
  • Watch some YouTube recordings of their favorite tales. We are big fans of Dragons Love Tacos.
  • Join with them! Public libraries often offer an adult reading program as well as family programs.
  • Have family rewards :: pick out a new book, go on an adventure, create a snack that reminds you of your favorite book, or see a movie that corresponds with your favorite story.
  • Check Pinterest for book lists. Follow your kids’ interests or even introduce them to new topics.
  • Play Summer Reading Bingo to add some variety to your reading routine.
  • Download a Reading Scavenger Hunt and use the library to find new books.

I have fond memories of the summer reading program at our hometown public library, and I’m secretly excited to live out this part of my childhood again with my own children. We will pick several summer reading programs and find extra adventures in books this summer! 

Please Note :: While we make every effort to crosscheck current links and various business details on our guides, we always encourage you to do the same before making final plans. If details are missing or incorrect, please let us know so that we can make every attempt to correct them.  And if you know of any other summer reading programs, please include them in the comments below!


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The Best Summer Reading Programs for Houston Kids. A photograph of a family reading on bean bag chairs in a library. Logo: Houston moms blog.

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Elizabeth Baker
Elizabeth was raised in Houston and met her husband Ryan shortly after graduating from Texas A&M with a journalism degree. A few years later, Grayson {Sept 2010}, turned Elizabeth’s world upside down, not only with his sparkling blue eyes and killer smile, but with his profound disabilities and diagnosis of Mitochondrial Disease. After two years of navigating the world of special needs parenting, Elizabeth and Ryan were blessed with Charlotte {Jan 2013} and Nolan {Sept 2015}, perfectly completing their party of five. Elizabeth and her crew live in Katy, and when she can steal a few moments for herself, she can be found out for Mexican food and margaritas with girlfriends, binge-listening to podcasts and audiobooks, or trying once again {unsuccessfully} to organize her closet. In addition to her role as Managing Editor of HMB, Elizabeth writes about faith, politics and special needs parenting for publications like Scary Mommy and HuffPost.You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, or ElizabethKBaker.com


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