Summer Reading Programs and Discount Movies for Kids!

Summer Reading Programs & Discount Movies for Kids!

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Are you looking for ways to encourage your kids to learn, and have fun during the summer? This list of summer reading programs and movie passes for kids will help!

Summer Reading Programs and Discount Movies for Kids!

We love reading at our house – always have! With more than 4000 books on our shelves, we’re usually highlighting and turning down pages on at least 2 or 3 books at a time. It is so amazing to glean information from current day experts to those who lived generations before us. The most successful people we know are voracious readers.

Encouraging our kids to love learning and to love reading books is critical to their success also. Every summer, when our kids were younger, they would sign up for Summer Reading Programs at our city and county libraries (yes, we often involved them in two or three reading programs).

Why Summer Reading Programs are important

These programs provided encouragement for our kids to broaden their horizons. Because you had to check in several times each month to log the books or hours spent reading, our kids tore through books like crazy. The accountability and the rewards were super motivating. They also met other kids who were crazy about reading—teens who volunteered at the library to help run the program.

The Prizes

Most public libraries have summer reading programs. The programs in Phoenix reward kids with prizes for each reading benchmark they achieve. They’ve won things like Major League Baseball tickets, movie, restaurant, ice cream, smoothie, and miscellaneous treat coupons; pencils, creepy plastic insects, bookmarks and other little trinkets. They loved tracking their progress and eagerly anticipated their next reward.

Bonuses: Libraries often schedule story times, clowns, magicians and other kid-friendly entertainment on a regular basis . . . especially in the summer. Get the schedule and be there to expand your horizons.

How we check out books at the library

A red Radio Flyer wagon full of library books in canvas bags.

When we checked out books with five kids, it was a massive operation. So each child came to the library equipped with his or her “Book Bag,” usually a canvas tote bag that could hold 10 to 20 books. When the kids were too small to carry that many books, we’d bring our red Radio Flyer wagon and load the book bags and a kid or two into it and pull it through the library. At the checkout, each kid stood in line with Mom or an older sibling to scan their books and put them in their book bag with the due-date slip.

Watch the renewal date.

Checking out large quantities of books can be a budget buster if you miss the due date. Our libraries allow phone or Internet renewal, which makes it much easier to avoid fines. And recently they’ve even started doing automatic renewals on books which have no “hold requests” on them.

A couple of afternoons each week were set aside for quiet reading or art time from 2 pm to 4 pm when the kids could devour their books. We also had story time each evening before bed—reading programs for younger kids rewarded them for time spent listening to books as well.

Other Summer Reading Programs

hundreds of paperback books on wooden shelves.

Not only do public and private libraries sponsor summer reading programs for kids, but so do several other booksellers and businesses.

  • Barnes & Noble For the past 20 years they have hosted a summer reading program where kids can receive a free book for participating.
  • Pizza Hut Book-It program – during the summer this program offers all kinds of reading challenges, tips and games through their website.
  • Half Price Books Summer Reading Program called Feed Your Brain, gives student participants $5 gift certificate if they read for 300 minutes in June or July.
  • Chuck E. Cheese Reading Program – this one runs all year long and kids earn 10 free tokens for reading every day for 2 weeks (scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the reading programs). They have lots of other reward programs listed here.

Movie Theater Passes (2017 update)

movies icon

Many movie theaters have special pricing during the summer for kids. We’ve seen summer passes for 10 movies at $10. Check out summer programs at these theater chains:

  • Harkins – 10 weeks of movies for about $1 per movie.
  • AMC  – $4 per child
  • Regal Cinemas – Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the summer for $1
  • Marcus Theaters – Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays – family favorites for $3
  • Cinemark/Century Theaters – $1 per movie or get a 10 movie pass for $5 (limited quantities)
  • Bow Tie Cinemas – Free movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 am
  • Showcase Cinemas – no specific summer discount program for kids, but they do have lots of other discount programs.
  • Movie Pass – $9.95 per month and you can see one movie at participating theaters every day. Get Details here.

While summer should be a time of relaxation, reading and fun for your kids and you, it doesn’t have to be a time of spending a lot of money. Send us an email if you know of other summer reading programs or summer discount movie programs for kids.

If you are looking for more recreation ideas that the whole family can enjoy, consider reading the recreation chapter of our first book, America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money.

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