The Maricopa County Reads summer reading program will continue through Aug. 15 to encourage young people to stay engaged and reading while they remain out of school.
The online-only program, originally scheduled to end Aug. 1, was extended in response to Gov. Doug Ducey’s June 29 announcement that in-classroom instruction at Arizona schools will not start until at least Aug. 17.
“Summer reading is critical for children to retain knowledge and skills learned throughout the year,” said Clint Hickman, chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, District 4, in a statement. “The Summer Reading Program offers a great opportunity to keep kids engaged, reading and ready for the next school year.”
Many worry the impact of the traditional “summer slide” — the learning loss experienced while transitioning between school years — may be steeper than normal because of disruptions forced by coronavirus-related school closures March 16, which moved all education to home and online environments.
More than 60 libraries across Maricopa County participate in the summer reading program. eBooks are available online and most branches have instituted curbside pickup for books families wish to reserve online.
“Our summer reading program is not only fun, but it is also one of the county’s major community literacy efforts,” said Cindy Kolaczynski, Maricopa County Library District Director and County Librarian. “Summer reading keeps literacy and comprehension skills sharp through challenges and experiences that spark excitement about learning and reading.”
This year’s theme, “Imagine Your Story,” encourages readers of all ages to read at least 20 minutes a day. Participants earn one point per minute for reading physical or electronic books (including graphic novels) or listening to audio books. Additional points are earned for attending virtual programs and completing online challenges.
Prizes include a free personal pizza from Peter Piper Pizza, free lemonade from Raising Cane’s, and an Arizona State Parks pass. Grand Prize drawings at each participating library offer the chance to win family passes to Legoland Discovery Center/Sea Life Aquarium.
Readers who achieve 1,000 points can choose a free book for their home library, or can donate it to a local Head Start classroom. Last year, Head Start classrooms in Maricopa County received more than 1,500 books thanks to the generosity of summer readers.
- Avondale Public Library
- Buckeye Public Library
- Chandler Public Library
- Desert Foothills Library
- Fort McDowell Tribal Library
- Glendale Public Library
- Maricopa County Library District
- Mesa Public Library
- Morristown Volunteer Library
- Peoria Public Library
- Phoenix Public Library
- Salt River Tribal Library
- Scottsdale Public Library
- Tempe Public Library
- Tolleson Public Library
- Wickenburg Public Library
- Youngtown Public Library