Encouraging Summer Reading

Summertime is the perfect time to engage children of all ages in free summer reading programs offered by many local public library systems. While most library locations in the South Sound continue to remain closed in an effort to lessen the spread of COVID-19, several are offering virtual summer reading programs.

Reading is the cornerstone of all learning. One of the greatest benefits for children is to help them become strong readers. What often begins on the laps of parents and caregivers in the early years, ignites the spark that strengthens, not only reading, but writing, speaking, critical thinking, and comprehension skills, and continues to develop as they grow.

Many statistics show that fluent readers are more likely to be successful in school. Those who spend less time reading during summer break can often experience a decline in their reading capacity, as well as other academic skills. According to the American Library Association (ALA), summer reading programs can motivate reluctant readers, as well as help them to retain important skills over the summer.

The Pierce County Library System’s Summer Reading Program is available now. Readers can register by downloading the Beanstack Tracker app to record their ongoing reading, while earning badges and prizes. There is also access to book lists, and additional resources. Virtual events will be offered on the library site including: story times, STEAM activities, and popular programs like, Science Tellers, and Traveling Lantern. For those without electronic access, grab and go activity kits will be accessible for pick-up in late summer.

The Tacoma Public Library offers a Summer Reading Club with a variety of online formats, including live programs through Zoom, special YouTube releases, and on demand viewing. Themed craft kits, along with free school supplies, reading logs, and activities are available for pick up at designated distribution sites. Reading logs and craft kits can also be downloaded here.

The Timberland Regional Library’s online Summer Reading Program has an array of virtual activities planned. Participants may sign up with Beanstack to log their reading and complete challenges with point and badge rewards. Check out their YouTube channel for fun songs, STEM programming, story times, and virtual performances by Heidi Larson from Idea Hatch, Magician Jeff Evans, and Mr. Lizard.

Summer vacation creates a wonderful opportunity for families to encourage important skills, instill a lifelong habit of reading, as well as providing an ideal outlet for quality family time.


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