KCLS’ annual Summer Reading Program begins June 1

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 August 31. Participants ages 5 and older are invited to track minutes spent reading during the summer, with a 500-minute halfway goal and a 1,000-minute final goal. Preschoolers (ages newborn to 5) may complete a series of early literacy activities with assistance from their parents or caregivers. Visit kcls.org/summer for more information, including reading recommendations and a list of events; the website will launch on June 1 when the program begins.

Participants may read anything they choose to, and reading to someone else or listening to an audiobook counts toward reading minutes. Use the Beanstack app to sign up for the Summer Reading Program and log reading hours. Or, starting June 1, patrons may pick up a reading log at their library to track hours instead.

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. There are in-person and online events to attend this year, as KCLS continues to expand in-person programming in the wake of the pandemic.

Patrons 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, will also be celebrated on their library’s Community Board and 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.

“We are excited to welcome our community of readers back for both in-person and online summer programming this year,” said KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum. “However you and your family choose to participate, KCLS’ Summer Reading Program offers fun and creative ways to bond over books and foster a love of reading.”

Reading is important for all ages, and has been shown to decrease stress and increase empathy. It is 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’ Summer Reading Program is about encouraging youth, as well as adults, to experience the joy of reading whatever interests them,” said KCLS Youth and Family Services Manager Rekha Kuver. “Our annual reading challenge gives patrons an opportunity to read together and strengthen the community bonds that help create an important sense of belonging for all.”