Imagine Your Story: Maricopa County 2020 Summer Reading Program

Homes across the country transformed into classrooms as students left their schools two months before the traditional summer break this year. Now, as the weather warms and the official academic year has come to an end, many worry the impact of the “Summer Slide” — the learning loss experienced while transitioning between school years — may be steeper than normal.

Maricopa County officials are encouraging residents — especially young readers — to continue their at-home learning and reduce the “Summer Slide” by including the County’s annual summer reading program into their summer plans. The online platform encourages reading all summer long, while earning great prizes and participating in fun challenges all from the comfort of home at (English) or (Spanish).

More than 60 libraries across Maricopa County participate in the summer reading program, in which people can log their reading online, complete challenges, and attend virtual performances to win prizes.

“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 is “Imagine Your Story” and encourages readers of all ages to read 20 minutes a day. Participants earn one point per minute for reading physical or electronic books (including graphic novels) or listening to audiobooks. 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 Park pass. Grand Prize drawings will also take place at each participating library for 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.

The program runs through Aug. 1. Participating North Valley libraries include Desert Foothills Library, Phoenix Public Library and Scottsdale Public Library.

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