Fun and Free: King County Libraries' Summer Reading Program Underway

The annual summer program is free and offers something for preschoolers through high school.


It’s time again for the King County Library System's summer reading program. Kids know they can have fun with other kids at the library and parents know they can count on reliable, enjoyable, affordable ways to keep their kids busy during the gap between school years. Plus, library programs are free and open to all.

What may not be obvious is the underlying strategy behind these summer programs, and the valuable contributions they make to the lifelong reading skills and learning abilities of participants. Like any skill, reading ability drops with disuse. Kids who don’t read during the summer fall behind, losing some level of reading achievement by the time school begins again. The impact is particularly strong for children living in poverty, and those who don’t have support and encouragement from parents and caregivers to read for pleasure when school’s out.

Despite their bright graphics, interesting challenges, incentives, and entertainment value, library summer programs are serious players in the educational development of toddlers, kids, and teens.  And recreational reading even helps harried adults learn new skills, discover new menu ideas, redecorate on a shoestring, and escape with some good travel or adventure stories.

This summer, the King County Library System offers free reading programs for all ages at all 47 KCLS libraries, including the and libraries, online, and in communities across King County.

  • Preschoolers—with help from their parents and caregivers—can color in shapes for every 20 minutes they spend reading. When they reach the halfway point of 15 reading sessions, they can take their reading activity sheet to the library and receive a packet of glow-in-the-dark mini-stars. If they reach the final goal of 30 sessions during the summer, they’ll receive a pair of colorful LED Flashing Glasses, and have the opportunity to enter the prize drawing to win a one-year family membership to KidsQuest Museum or a Family Fun Pack to the Woodland Park Zoo.
  • Elementary-grade kids have a summer-full of activities and adventures in the Dream Big: READ http://www.kcls.org/srp/. Through August, kids are invited to participate in free special activities, entertaining performances by a host of presenters, from puppet shows to Dream A Dream concerts by Caspar Babypants (aka Chris Ballew, lead singer for the Presidents of the United States) (http://www.youtube.com/user/casparbabypants. The full program/event listing is available online at http://www.kcls.org/srp/programs.cfm.
    • A reading log invites kids to track their summer reading time. After 500 minutes of reading, Big Dreamers can claim their own pack of glow-in-the-dark stars, and after 1000 minutes, they can claim their own LED glasses.
    • All who reach the reading goal of 1,000 minutes reading by August 31 may enter their names in a drawing to win a new netbook!
  • Teens have two summer programs to choose, and are welcome to join in both.
  • Adults are invited to join in the reading fun through the Take Time to READ (TTTR), a three-year joint promotion of KCLS and the King County Library System Foundation.

From July through September, local businesses and organizations in fourteen communities are hosting Take Time to Read posters at 266 different sites. The communities of Kirkland, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Burien, Crossroads, Duvall, Issaquah, Kent, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, North Bend, Renton, Vashon and Woodinville are all hosting multiple posters.

In local community libraries, displays and book posters will highlight interesting new and classic books, and 15 KCLS librarians will be working as an online Reader’s Advisory team. Beginning July 1, patrons can visit and “like” the Take Time to READ Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TakeTimetoRead and complete a request for a built-to-order reading list to meet their interests. Participants will also receive a coffee card from the KCLS Foundation, and a chance to win a prize.

KCLS Book Cover Tour guides will be available on July 1 at all KCLS libraries.  For full details about the Take Time to READ project, visit www.kcls.org/taketimetoread

If you want great sugggestions on what books to offer your child or teen, Patch partnered with best-selling author James Patterson to promote summer reading. Check out Patterson's book lists by clicking here.


Information from KCLS


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