Here are some programs that we participate in or might be worth looking into:
Pizza Hut Book It! Students set monthly goals from October through March. As they achieve these goals they earn a free personal pan pizza with up to one topping. We have done this for a number of years. The program is easy to sign up for, offers a tasty reward, and is easy to redeem.
There is also a Book It Beginners program, but this is not open to homeschoolers at this time. It is available to schools enrolling at least four students, so if your child attends a preschool, you can ask about their enrolling in the program. It begins in March (deadline is February 15 to enroll, so you would need to act on this quickly), still giving you time to act on this for this current year.
If you have a Six Flags park nearby you can join their Read to Succeed program in the fall of each year. Students must read a total of six hours to earn a free ticket. This is not a program that individuals can sign up for. The registration must be sent in on behalf of a group of homeschoolers (a support group or co-op). The don't have new information on their site at this time, but this is worth pursuing for next year if you aren't in it already.
Six Flags also has a Math-a-thon that they use to raise money for St. Jude. Students find sponsors to pledge money for each math problem they complete. If students raise at least $35 they earn a free ticket for their participation in this program, and of course the money goes to a good cause.
With those free tickets you still need to pay applicable parking fees and entrance fees for other attendees, but we have enjoyed a full day of high-adventure for a price that can't be beat. And, of course, it truly motivates the kids to read when they have something like this to work toward.
Beyond those nationally recognized programs, ask at ball parks, museums, or other places that you would like to take your family. Some will say they don't offer anything, but many places offer free tickets or reduced passes as academic incentives.
Also, check out your local library. Ours has an individual program for summer reading and a family read aloud program for the winter months. Some of the prizes we have reveled in include free ice cream, baseball tickets, movie passes, book bags, pens and pencils, bowling passes, free kids' meals, and new books.
We love to read anyway, and my kids enjoy it for the most part, but when enthusiasm wanes, an incentive program can keep them reading.
Who can complain about free, or discounted, and well earned family fun?
For more frugal tips head over to Biblical Womanhood for Frugal Friday.