KCLS Summer Reading Bridges Learning Gaps and Builds Community

For the King County Library System, summer has always been a special time to connect with patrons, both inside our libraries and outdoors.

KCLS’ annual Summer Reading Program is especially robust this year, as we celebrate reading and learning with expanded activities and events for all ages.

Summer Reading, which runs June 1 through August 31, provides an academic bridge during the critical months when students are out of school. Research has shown that continuing to read and learn during the summer keeps kids engaged, increases empathy and prevents the loss of academic achievement that has been called the “summer slide.”

This year, Summer Reading features in-person and online programs, including children’s literacy, STEM activities, musical performances, author events, Study Zones and even magic shows. Staff are holding Story Times indoors as well as at outdoor spaces adjacent to or near libraries.

Our reading challenge is always popular, bringing entire families together as they choose whatever books they want, including reading to others or listening to audiobooks. The goal is to read 1,000 minutes, with a 500-minute halfway goal. Participants ages five and older can sign up and track their reading minutes with a reading log provided at their library, or by using the Beanstack app.

We are hoping to beat last year’s excellent numbers. The 2021 Summer Reading program tallied 4,156,325 total minutes read. It also included the distribution of 24,650 Summer Reading books and 5,000 STEM kits, thanks to the KCLS Foundation.

Preschoolers (ages newborn to five) also can join in, completing early literacy activities with assistance from their parents or caregivers.

Those who read for at least 500 minutes, or complete 25 early learning activities, will be commemorated on their library’s Community Board, and will receive a KCLS Reader patch featuring artwork by local artist Erin Wallace. Participants who make it to the 1,000-minute mark, or complete 50 early learning activities, also will be celebrated on their library’s Community Board plus will receive a KCLS Reader journal featuring Wallace’s artwork. Prizes have been made possible by the KCLS Foundation and will be available while supplies last.

Patrons can check our website for staff recommendations across all genres. Your summer reading also can count toward our annual reading challenge, called 10 to Try.

Kids ages three to 17 can also nourish their bodies as well as their minds by heading to the Kingsgate or Shoreline Libraries for Summer Meals, a traditional part of our Summer Reading Program. Summer Meals offers the chance to read and enjoy a lunch provided through our partnership with the KCLS Foundation, United Way, FareStart and the YMCA.

However you choose to participate this summer, you are sure to enjoy connecting with others and being part of a community of readers. Summer Reading is a chance to explore fun, educational and creative ways to bond over books and a mutual love of reading.

Get inspired by watching this Summer Reading video, and be sure to join us!