Summer Reading Incentive Programs at Public Libraries Pros and Cons

As a teacher and parent, I strongly recommend that children take part in the summer reading program at the local public library! My kids have been participating for a number of years and have always enjoyed it!

Here are my pros and cons:


The summer is long and hot in most places. An hour reading a book or participating in a summer reading program event in the library is a refreshing break from the heat and a chance to regroup for more outside fun!

Summers for school-aged children in the U.S. are longer than in most other industrialized countries, so there’s time to do it all. Our agrarian-based calendar reflects our history as farmers and frontiersmen, but most kids don’t need to help out on the farm these days and most teachers will tell you that the first month or two of school is for playing catch-up and trying to bring the kids back to the level they were at at the end of the previous school year. A summer reading program allows kids to maintain and even improve their reading skills in a fun way.

Reading is fun! That’s the message that we parents send our kids when we go to the library as a fun family outing. As a child and teen, going to the library with my mom was one of my favorite things to do and, to this day, I love the library and reading! This is a good habit to instill in our kids. Libraries aren’t just for research and cramming for tests, they are for expanding our minds and reading books about what we find interesting in the world!

There are lots of fun activities and great prizes, all for free! Our library has magicians, jugglers, storytellers, puppeteers, and many other creative groups perform throughout the summer. This is a wonderful way to open up other creative avenues to your child. After the juggling act, every child wants to check out some books on juggling. Same for the magicians! There are great prizes too! Last summer, my son won a huge package of tickets to minigolf, the aquarium, amusement parks, museums and more after winning a big prize in the raffle for kids who completed the program! All kids receive prizes including free ice cream coupons, books, and other goodies. Nothing wrong with a little prize for doing good now and then!


Summer events can be very crowded so you have to plan ahead and get to concerts and special programs early. Expect a little chaos!

Kids don’t always want to participate, so you have to make it fun and not something that is forced on them. Use all your persuasive powers to keep the kids reading this summer! If they are crazy about videogames, you can still relate to their interests by checking out Pokemon stories or books on drawing cartoon characters, for example.

All in all, the summer reading incentive program is a fantastic way to promote a love of reading in a fun way! We have to be thankful that someone is there to provide fun, educational activities for our kids just when we’ve run out of our last creative idea in the summer heat! Summers are long and there is plenty of time for everything – reading, freeze tag, days at the playground and on the beach…enjoy!