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Kids' summer reading programs mix learning and fun

Local libraries and bookstores encourage kids to keep reading through fun themes, activities and the lure of prizes.


During the summer, the children's sections of our public libraries are exciting places to be. With long days of free time stretching ahead of them, kids come looking for something to read. There's no teacher directing them. It's up to them to choose something interesting. And part of growing up is figuring out just what those interests are. In order to serve these kids, libraries around the city host a variety of events . One Monday in Seattle Public Libraries: a puppet show about fruit bats, a presentation about insects and workshops in which kids make video games, Youtube videos, and math-inspired art. Meanwhile, the libraries run programs motivating kids to read by offering fun activities and incentives for picking up those books.

Seattle Public Library

Young people of all ages can keep up with their reading, earn prizes and attend a host of free events (see the schedule) during Seattle Public Library's Summer of Learning. 2018's theme is "Adventures with Water." The program has different approaches for different age groups.  Early learners  can collect stickers from the library for each of five simple activities they can do with their parents. By participating, they can get a  free family admission to the Burke MuseumElementary and middle school readers make their own goals for reading (the library suggests 20 minutes a day), and for each day's reading, they fill in a square on an activity card. For each ten squares they fill out, they can earn prizes. Rising sixth graders and other middle and high school students have the option of winning prizes through Teen Book Bingo. Kids up to age 12 can also pick up cards for Seattle Arts and Lectures' Kids Book Bingo. Prize for a "bingo" is a $15 gift card to an independent book store. Prize for a "blackout" or all 50 squares is a $50 gift card to an independent book store.

King County Library System

King County Library System's summer reading program runs through June 1 through Aug. 31. Two age-based programs include a multitude of activities, free events (see the schedule), reading goals and prizes designed to inspire reading. All 46 branch libraries will participate. The prize for registering is two Seattle Storm tickets. The program for babies, toddlers and preschoolers will focus on parent participation and pre-reading activities.  Elementary school-aged children have an array of programs planned for them and prizes for reaching 500 and 1,000 minutes spent reading. Kids should visit their neighborhood library to pick up the reading log, and also to get the prizes.


(A bit of bad news: KCLS has already run out of its finishing prizes: 50,000 Wild Waves passes have been claimed.)

Everett Public Library System

The Everett Public Library System offers summer reading challenges for both children and teens, with a suggested reading goal of 24 hours. Reading logs are available at both branches of the library though July 31. And there are events. Here's the schedule.

Sno-Isle Libraries

 Kids Explore Summer at Sno-Isle Libraries gives out logs and challenges kids to read a total of 10 hours by Aug. 31. The prize is a free book. And there are lots of events.

Tacoma Public Library

Tacoma Public Library has a Summer Reading Club that runs from June 1 until Aug. 11, with bingo cards for four age groups: little kids, kids, teens and adults. Pick up the cards at a library branch. Fill in the squares by doing activities. Books, ebooks, graphic novels, audiobooks and magazines all fulfill the reading requirement. Five squares in a row is a bingo, and kids can get prizes, while supplies last. Also, check out the events.

Pierce County Library System

Pierce County Library System's summer reading program runs June 23 to Sept. 2 at its 20 locations. Kids win prizes for reading 5, 10, 15 or more hours. There are book suggestions in keep with this summer's theme: "Libraries Rock." Explore the world of stories in several events (see the calendar), including story times, crafts, music, nature exploration and KaBoom playground visits.


University Bookstore

Third Place Books

Swing by your nearest Third Place Books location to pick up a passport for their summer reading challenge. Each time you finish a book you can come in for a stamp in your passport. Prizes start with two stamps. If you fill in all eight stamps and hand the passport in by Aug. 31, you have a chance to win a $50 gift card.

Half Price Books

Half Price Books offers kids "bookworm bucks" for participating in the Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program. Kids 14 and other fill out a reading log, while older teens can get bookworm bucks by writing reviews of specific books.

Barnes and Noble

Record eight books in a Barnes and Noble Reading Journal, bring the journal into a Barnes and Noble store before Sept. 3, and get a free book.

Editor's note: Updated for summer 2018

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