Posted on June 6, 2019 at 11:17 AM by Guest Author

Updated on 06/16/2022

Summer reading programs offer an excellent opportunity for authors to market children’s and young adult books. Learn how to use them to your advantage.

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Why Summer Reading Programs Matter

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” — Oscar Wilde

When summer finally arrives after a seemingly never-ending school year, most adolescents couldn’t be more thrilled. Instead of spending their days cooped up in a classroom, they can get outside with their friends, play games, and just focus on having fun. It’s safe to say that summer is the most highly anticipated season of the year for kids. 

For parents and teachers, on the other hand, summer presents something of a challenge. When summer hits, required reading is put on hold until the following school year.

As a result, many children and teenagers can go the entire break without even opening a book! That means roughly three months in which adolescents aren’t strengthening their literacy skills or learning as much as they could (or at all).

This problem has adults wondering...

What can parents and teachers do to resolve this issue?

How can they encourage students to read during summer break?

How can they prioritize reading so that students retain the skills and knowledge they’ve gained?

One solution that has grown in popularity over the years is summer reading programs. 

A Google Trends report for the search term “summer reading programs” over the last year shows a spike in interest starting in the spring.

Summer reading programs have been around longer than most people realize. In fact, the first recorded reading program was developed in 1896 by the head librarian at The Cleveland Library to encourage schoolchildren to read during their time off.

Since then, these programs have become an effective way to foster a love of books, prevent learning loss, and increase knowledge.  

Bringing up new generations of readers is crucial, as it benefits society as a whole. That’s why various organizations have developed their own programs to persuade young people to pick up a book during the summer months. Most have a rewards system in place, so participants who reach their goals can win prizes. 

Here are some examples:

  • Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading Program offers one free book to every child who reads a designated number of books and brings their completed Reading Journal to a local Barnes & Noble bookstore.

  • The Scholastic Summer Reading Program gives kids the chance to earn digital experiences such as book-based games the more they read. 

  • The H-E-Buddy Summer Reading Club provides a printable reading log that can be mailed in for a special prize once a young Texas reader has completed ten books. 

  • Bookworm Wednesdays at Showcase Cinemas offers one free admission to select movies when children present a book report at participating locations. 

  • With Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT! program, students are rewarded with stickers and personal pizzas when they meet their set reading goals.  

  • Reading Rewards allows parents and teachers to set up their own rewards programs for young readers. 

  • Public libraries frequently sponsor summer reading programs for every age group, offering prizes such as bracelets, bookmarks, and gift certificates.

Children and teenagers are often eager to participate in these programs, as the prospect of receiving a free book, gift certificate, or other token is exciting. And on their journey to earning a prize, they frequently find joy in the act of reading itself!

As a result, parents don’t have to force their children to read, and teachers can feel better knowing their students are exercising their brains while on break. 

Therein lies the value and popularity of these programs.

However, parents, teachers, and students aren’t the only ones who can benefit from summer reading programs — authors can too. That’s why you, as an author, shouldn’t pull back on your book marketing efforts when summer comes around. In fact, if your work is geared toward a younger audience, you should be ramping things up this season!

How Authors Benefit from Promoting Their Work in the Summer

Although summer reading programs give children and teenagers incentives to read, there are some drawbacks. For instance, some programs include a list of book recommendations, but many do not. And even when recommendations are provided, not all guardians/educators find them suitable.

Parents and teachers often spend quite a bit of time searching for fun yet appropriate titles that their students can read during break. This gives authors the perfect opportunity to promote books specifically geared toward young readers.

So, what are the benefits of choosing summer to market children’s books and young adult books?

You Can Meet the Demand for Age-Appropriate Reading Material.

As mentioned previously, parents and teachers are in desperate need of book recommendations so they can keep students reading during break. After all, children and teens can’t participate in summer reading programs if they have nothing to read! And unfortunately, not every program offers a list of books to read.

By promoting your own work this season, you can take advantage of the demand and put your title(s) in front of those who need it most. 

You Can Increase Your Book’s Exposure from Bloggers and Influencers. 

Book bloggers and literary influencers know that people are on the hunt for suitable books in the summer. That’s why many start curating lists of titles well in advance. In doing so, they’re able to fulfill their audience’s need and remain an authority in the book space.

By making your book available for summer reading and connecting with those who have large audiences, you can increase your book’s exposure. 

You Can Provide Potential Buyers with a Convenient Reading Option They Appreciate.

Many families travel for summer vacation, even today. And parents are always looking for ways to entertain the kids during long flights and even longer car rides. With ebooks, parents can ensure their children have plenty of reading material without having to lug a heavy suitcase full of hardcovers.   

So, if you’re an author specializing in such titles, opting to market young adult books or children’s books that are available in a digital format can increase your downloads.  

You Can Grow Your Reader Base Significantly.

Once you get your work in the hands of readers, the likelihood of creating raving fans jumps significantly. And when you market young adult books and children’s books in the summer (when interest is high), you have a lot more opportunities.

Just by opting to market children’s books and young adult books this season, you can introduce more readers to your work, which means they’ll likely continue reading everything you have available long after summer is over.  

You Can Bring in More Reader Reviews.

Getting reader reviews can be a challenge for any author. However, the key is just to ask. The more people you ask, and the easier you make the process, the more reviews you can look forward to receiving. 

Promoting your children’s or young adult book in the summer can help you bring in more reader reviews, just in terms of numbers. If you tell parents, teachers, or students exactly how to leave a review, there’s a good chance they’ll leave one. 

Note: Some summer reading programs require participants to write book reports or short blurbs about what they’ve read. And you can use this to your advantage. Just encourage readers (or their parents) to pull out a snippet they’ve already written and share it where you prefer.  

Ways to Market Children’s Books and Young Adult Books

There are plenty of parents, teachers, and readers out there who are looking for books just like yours. The trick is actually getting your book in front of them. Fortunately, there are many ways to market young adult books and children’s books during the summer (or any time of year, really). 

Here are a few ideas:

  • Determine whether your book relates to a summer movie or video game franchise geared toward younger viewers, and tie your book to that franchise. 

  • Reach out to local schools and libraries, providing information about your book and even offering to do a reading.

  • Research parent blogs or children’s/young adult book blogs that frequently offer recommendations and provide site owners with a copy of your book.

  • Search for Facebook and community websites for children’s and young adult book groups, then recommend your work — perhaps even giving them a free copy to review. 

  • Leverage any existing relationships with local educators and see if they need any book recommendations to send over summer break.

  • See if any relevant local festivals or events are going on this season where you could promote your book. 

  • Set up an email marketing campaign geared toward parents and teachers. If you don’t have your own list, you can sign up to promote your free ebook in our newsletter


The popularity of summer reading programs isn’t something children’s and young adult authors can afford to overlook. These programs provide such authors with a great opportunity to increase sales and digital downloads just by choosing to market their books this season. So, if your target audience consists of young readers (or the adults who buy/recommend books for them), be sure to put your work out there now!

Looking for a way to get your work in front of young readers and their parents or teachers? Promote it in our free ebook newsletter!

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