Milwaukee Summer Reading Programs Families Will Love


Raise your hand if you would love an awesome FREE summer activity!

We have got you covered! Even better–it’s in air conditioning and includes prizes that you don’t have to think up!  Oh, aren’t summer reading programs the most dreamy gifts to parents?  Now, sit down and brace yourself because, at this very moment, you are surrounded by summer reading programs. They’re all over Milwaukee! Plus, they are all FREE, include rewards, and are designed for all ages of children.  Your summer just got incredibly feasible and fun with the following summer reading programs.


Milwaukee Summer Reading Programs

Barnes & Noble

The Summer Reading Program at Barnes & Noble includes reading lists and deals for the whole family!

Participation is a fun and easy way for kids to earn free books. They simply read a designated number of books – library books, books borrowed from friends or books bought at Barnes & Noble – write about their favorite part in our Reading Journal, and bring a completed Reading Journal to a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Children then choose their free book from the books listed on the Reading Journal and collect their free book from a store near them during July and August.

Half-Price Books

Any child of high school age and under can participate in Half-Price Bookstores Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program during June and July.

High school students who read a book over the summer can go to to submit a short online review of the book they read to earn Bookworm Bucks, which can be redeemed at Half-Price Bookstores.

Children in 8th grade and under get to log reading 15 minutes a day until their Feed Your Brain reading log reaches 300 minutes earning them Bookworm Bucks to be redeemed at Half-Price Bookstores.

You’ll also find staff reading picks, reading tips for kids, and this list: 40 Books Every Child Should Read when you check out for more details about the Feed Your Brain program.  There’s even a coloring sheet, a printable certificate and letter tracing worksheets!

The Library

Your library cannot wait to see you and your child! Seriously, the Milwaukee Public Library has a program for every member of your family!

The Milwaukee Public Library Super Reader Program is similar yet different from the Ready, Set, Read national program run by the libraries in the suburbs and runs from May 18th to August 31st.  All of the libraries hand out similar rewards as children return to the library with their reading logs, but every library facilitates their own reading program.  So, though they are all somewhat similar, they also are all somewhat different. Sign up at your local library (make sure to check for special hours or if they are open) or online and get ready to redeem your reading logs for great prizes from places like the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Wisconsin State Fair! This program is for children ages 12 and younger.

Teens from 13 to 18 can participate in the MPL Teen Summer Challenge where they get points for things that they read, do, or make. They can track their points and redeem their logs for the food and activity prizes, as well as a free book and a chance to win a laptop. Check out the schedule of events at your MPL branch to find out more about Game Jam Days and other fun activities!

Moms (and Dads), are you feeling left out? Don’t worry – MPL has you covered as well with their Book by Book program! When you sign up, you’ll get a coupon for a free used book from the Friends of Milwaukee Public Library (while supplies last).  The Book by Book Adult Summer Reading Program supports the library’s goal of creating a city of readers, and adults can turn in their logs for a chance at prizes!

Did you know participating in your local library’s summer reading program positively impacts your local library?  Yep, every person walking through the door of the library helps that library thrive. Each time you utilize your library, you’re counted, and the stats of patronage at that facility directly impacts that facility’s budget. High participation in the summer reading program at your library positively impacts your library’s future. So, make the library a regular fixture in your weekly summer schedule, and visit your library to find out exactly what prizes they award their readers!

Let’s hear it for reading! What do you do to keep your kids reading over the summer?

Remember to check out Milwaukee Mom’s Milwaukee Area Little Free Library Guide to get you started on your summer reading!

The team at Milwaukee Mom is working hard to remain your go-to spot for parenting resources in the Greater Milwaukee Area. While we will do our best to be as up-to-date as possible, please be aware that we are still dealing with rapidly changing situations. Please consult your local public health authority for social distancing recommendations and call ahead to confirm hours and offerings of any business or organization listed. 


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