The King County Library System (KCLS) encourages King County residents of all ages to participate in its annual Summer Reading Program from June 1 to Aug. 31, according to a press release. 

Participants 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, the release states. Preschoolers (birth to age 5) may complete a series of early literacy activities. Everyone who reads for 500 minutes or more can enter a drawing to win a gift certificate for books.

Participants may read anything they want, and reading to someone else or listening to an audiobook counts toward reading minutes. 

Browse through a selection of book recommendations, curated by KCLS staff, to find great titles and get started. 

With modified in-building services being offered at many KCLS libraries now, physical materials can either be picked up inside, or outside at a contactless Curbside to Go location or 24/7 lockers. See what’s available near you at kcls.org/visit. 

Residents may also participate in fun and educational activities all summer long, such as arts and crafts workshops, music and magic programs, outdoor StoryWalks, STEM learning opportunities and a variety of literary events, according to the release. 

All programming will be held online, except for StoryWalks. StoryWalks are self-guided literary adventures located outside KCLS libraries and community spaces that lead readers along a stories’ path, page by page. Visit kcls.org/summer for more information about events and activities.

Participants may post photos of their reading activity on Instagram with the hashtag #ShareYourSummerReading. These can include photos of books they are reading, recent visits to StoryWalks or other literary activities they have completed. Sharing posts can help others discover the fun of summer reading.

Use the Beanstack app to sign up for the Summer Reading Program and log reading hours. Or, print a downloadable reading log to track hours instead. If patrons are using Beanstack to track their progress, they will be entered into the drawing automatically. If patrons are using a printed reading log, they will need to go to the Summer Reading Program page to enter the drawing manually.

Reading is important for all ages, and has been shown to decrease stress and increase empathy, the release states. It’s especially important to keep children’s minds active and engaged during the summer to prevent learning loss while students are out of school. Parents and caregivers can encourage reading by setting aside time every day to read together as a family.

“KCLS’ online Summer Reading Program offers a safe, innovative and fun way for families to keep up on reading and prevent the “summer slide,” KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum said in the release. “We hope readers enjoy our virtual programming, and get lost in a great book or two this summer.” 

“It is wonderful to see how King County families and community libraries have stayed connected during the pandemic," said KCLS Youth and Family Services Manager Rekha Kuver. 

"Our annual reading challenge gives patrons another opportunity to read together, to both engage in communal learning, and to strengthen the community bonds that help create an important sense of belonging for all."

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