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summer reading programs

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Summer reading programs: Libraries and bookstores offer adventures and prizes

Stay busy, learn something, win a prize!

Summer reading programs: What a perfect activity.

With longer days and fewer responsibilities (well, for some of us, anyway), there’s extra time to let books take us to faraway places or entertain us with fantastical tales. Kids can learn new words and ideas, and keep those minds fresh after a challenging and unusual year at school.

Local libraries always get in on the fun (and make it more fun) with creative events, activities and enticements. For example:

Summer reading programs, 2021

King County Library System: The King County Library System (KCLS) has a program for readers of all ages; it runs through Aug. 31. Watch this video to learn more.

Those ages 5 and up are invited to track minutes spent reading during the summer, with a 500-minute halfway goal and a 1,000-minute final goal to be entered in a prize drawing. Preschoolers (birth to age 5) may complete a series of early literacy activities.

What counts? Reading (anything!) but also reading aloud to someone, being read to or listening to an audiobook. Track reading time online using the Beanstack app. Or do it manually with a reading log that can be printed out (or picked up at a library offering in-person services).

In addition, a variety of literary events are planned — all online, except for StoryWalks, which are self-guided, outdoor activities. Here’s the events calendar.

And finally, readers are invited to share their reading activity on Instagram with the hashtag #ShareYourSummerReading.

Seattle Public Library: The Seattle Public Library’s 2021 Summer of Learning program for kids and families, with the theme of “What’s Your Story?,” will launch in mid-June with the release of a large flier filled with writing prompts and questions that encourage youth and families to explore, create and share stories with friends, families, and community all summer long.

Pick up the flier at any Seattle Public Library location starting on June 21, and find many other activities, plus translated versions of the flier, online. Although the Library won’t be hosting in-person programming this year for Summer of Learning, there will be fun virtual programming later in the summer. (You can also find lots online already at the Library’s Kids’ YouTube channel.) In other news, more SPL locations are opening throughout June and July, and you can now browse books again, as well as use computers, recharge a device, get help from librarians, and simply hang out and read.

More summer reading programs

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. Those who finish can qualify to win a free book (while supplies last). Use the Beanstack tracking app or pick up (or print) a paper reading log. Additionally, there are events; the calendar is continually being updated with more. For example, check this out: “Make Your Own Bubble Tea,” June 30 (ages 10 and up).

Sno-Isle Libraries: Sno-Isle Libraries launches its 2021 summer reading program on June 21. The goal is to read a total of 10 hours by Aug. 31 (track online or on paper). All of the details and a fun video can be found here. Cool events on the calendar include “Inside a Whale” and “A Hero’s Journey with MoPOP.”

Tacoma Public Library: Tacoma Public Library’s theme this summer is “Reading Colors Your World.” Note: This program wraps up earlier than some. Final day to qualify for a prize is Aug. 15.  Another note: In addition to completion prizes, there is a signup prize (must be picked up in person).  The program involves tracking reading time, and there is also a full slate of events, including some with take-home kits.

Pierce County Library System: Pierce County Library System’s summer reading program is under way at its 20 locations. Art supplies and gift cards are among the potential prizes for those finishing by Aug. 31. Here are all the details about how the program works, including scheduling a curbside visit to pick up materials. In addition, there are numerous online events, some in conjunction with NW Trek Wildlife Park.

Summer reading programs at bookstores:

Half-Price Books is calling its summer program Summer Reading Camp. There are book lists, giveaways, reading logs and an “activity of the week.” (Puget Sound-area locations in Tacoma, Tukwila, Bellevue, Redmond, Lynnwood and Everett, but this is an online program.)

Scholastic, purveyor of the beloved school book fair, has a summer reading program that runs through Sept. 3. It encourages kids to start and maintain a Reading Streak (great idea!), attend online author talks and other events and help Scholastic in its efforts to donate books to kids in underserved areas.

Barnes & Noble:This chain’s website is great for lists. For instance, if you’ve got a bored kid or teen, point them to 100 Books of Summer for Teens and YALocal in-person locations: Bellevue, Alderwood, Northgate, Southcenter, Federal Way, Woodinville.

[Looking for more kid-friendly activities? Download our app and discover our customizable events calendar. Filter by child ages, location, free events and more.]

This story was first published on June 9, 2021.

Related: Latest updates on services available at KCLS, SPL || Tips for preventing “summer brain drain” || Favorite summer reads: University Book Store picks

[Looking for more kid-friendly activities? Download our app and discover our customizable events calendar. Filter by child ages, location, free events and more.]

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