Summer reading programs have become a permanent programming feature in the children's departments of public libraries. As children's services began and developed, so did the idea and practice of summer reading programs. Through an analysis of articles in Library Journal, Junior Libraries, and School Library Journal this paper traces the progress of summer reading programs from its beginnings in the 1890's until 2004. From story hours on the playground to websites with online forms, summer reading programs have endured many changes in society while remaining fairly constant in structure and administration. Keeping children reading and helping them to develop a love of reading continue to be important goals of summer reading programs. The future of youth summer reading programs will depend on their ability to be flexible and responsive to changing technology and children's interests.