Summer reading and so much more


School is out for summer, but that doesn’t mean that the learning needs to end. In fact, according to research compiled by the Brookings Institute, on average, student’s achievement scores decline over summer vacation by one month’s worth (or more) of school-year learning. The good news is that, across the Valley, there is a program aimed at getting young learners (and adults) out of the summer slump and into learning at local libraries

Maricopa County Reads, which runs June 1 through August 1, is an award-winning summer reading program provided by the Maricopa County Library District to all public libraries within Maricopa County. The simple formula: Read 20 minutes per day + Log minutes online = Earn rewards (and have some fun) along the way.

The primary goal of the program is to interrupt the “summer slide,” the common term given to the learning loss experienced by children while transitioning between school years. The secondary aim of the program is to promote early literacy among pre-readers and their families during the summer months. Here are some of the ways the program aims to achieve these goals:

Interrupt the Summer Slide

  • Keep children reading every day so they will not lose the reading comprehension skills that they learned during the school year.
  • Read for 20 minutes a day, which will help build a lifelong habit of reading.

Advance Early Literacy Skills

  • Encourage teens and adults to read with children and model independent reading behaviors.
  • Encourage caregivers to engage in early literacy activities with children.

Build Home Libraries

  • Read for 20 minutes a day, every day over the summer and earn a free book (available for all ages, from babies to adults).

Emphasize the Fun of Reading

  • Attend fun, literacy-based events at the library to earn digital badges and gain points towards the goal of unlocking a free book.
  • Have fun interacting with the online program by completing challenges and earning digital badges.

Connect Readers with Community Experiences

  • Visit a community partner to learn something new and earn secret codes to unlock badges and earn more points.
  • Try a community experience to connect children with books in a more meaningful way by bringing things to life that they have only read about.

The Maricopa County Reads ( online summer reading program began in the summer of 2013, and has continued to grow, and now hosts all 62 public libraries within Maricopa County. More than 80,000 children, teens and adults participate in the program annually.

Of course, local libraries offer so much more than books — from art classes and lecture series, to computer courses and STEM exploration…even a Seed Library — find a library and check it out!

In the Northeast Valley, visit Fountain Hills Library and North Valley Regional Library in Anthem (; Phoenix Public Library (; and Scottsdale Public Library ( |CST

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