Once upon a time, reading in the summer wasn't considered cool. Not anymore. With our bookish population and phenomenal libraries and bookstores, tearing through books for prizes is as much a part of the Puget Sound summer experience for kids as spray parks and berry picking.
Libraries also offer many fantastic free events and programs throughout the summer, to keep kids (and adults) book-smart. Here's our roundup of Puget Sound summer reading programs. (Know of one we should add? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Library summer reading programs
Seattle Public Library: Blast Off to Space!
The Seattle Public Library's 2017 Summer of Learning program for early learners, kids and teens officially began on Thursday, June 15 and runs through Tuesday, Sept. 5. Get your free book bingo card filled with fun activities at any library or online. Cross-off a square for every day you complete a reading or early learning activity. For every five completed squares in a row (up, down, across, or diagonal) bring your completed Bingo Card for Early Learners to the Library for a special sticker! Adults can get in on the fun with the third annual Summer Book Bingo.
Events: Events all summer long include hands-on workshops, lots of science activities, music, story times, puppet shows, dance and more.
Teens: Teens have their own Teen Book Bingo filled with challenges. You can enter twice to win prizes; once when you complete a row, diagonal or column and a second time if you complete a blackout of your card! Find programs just for teens here.
King County Library System
King County's Summer Reading Program has their version of Build a Better World. Participants receive a Summer Reading log (download or pick up at your library) that lets kids track the minutes they spend reading, being read to or listening to a book. Reading logs are available for both preschool and kids ages 5–12. Log 500 minutes and earn Seattle Storm tickets (available while supplies last) until Aug. 31.
Events: Fun events include music performances, brick builders, art workshops and performances including Professor Ficklestein's Energy Extravaganza! Find the full lineup including ages and locations online.
Teens: King County's Teen Summer Reading runs from June 1-August 31. Turn in as many teen reading logs as you want, you are automatically entered in the drawing for an Apple iPad! Turn in your first completed reading log and get a free 16 GB flash drive and a Taco Time coupon. Starting on July 1, vouchers good for two free tickets to attend a Seattle Storm basketball game will be given away. Vouchers, flash drives and coupons will be available while supplies last.
Tacoma Public Library
Tacoma’s Summer Learning Adventure, also part of the Build a Better World program, runs June 1–July 29 for kids, teens and adults. Pick up your book bingo card and bring it in to redeem prizes for each completed row you earn (up, down, across, or diagonal). Last day to pick up prizes is July 29 (available while supplies last).
Events: Find entertaining and educational events including Ozobots, edible architecture, up-cycled arts and crafts, even performances by the Seattle Reptile Guy & Jeff Evans' X-STREAM Magic Show — there's something for everyone.
Teens: Teens can enjoy a more advanced version of book bingo. Cards can be picked up at all Tacoma library locations. You can check out the online teen web card for more information.
Note: The Tacoma Library does not have digital material this year so you'll need to pop in to your local branch to pick up all versions of the book bingo cards.
Pierce County Libraries
Pierce County's Build a Better World program runs June 24–Sept 3. Track your reading minutes and earn prizes at 3, 6 and 9 hours (while supplies last) plus be entered to win a $25 gift certificate. Separate reading logs exist for young children and older tweens/teens.
Events: Check out all the great summer events for kids, tweens and teens using the interactive events calendar. Just click on "Summer Reading" and filter by age group.
Teens: Teens with a valid Pierce County Library card can also enter the Teen Summer Challenge. Earn points for a shot at awesome rewards by tracking reading and face dozens of challenges designed to explore your world.
Create and have fun with Sno-Isle Libraries' Explore Summer: Build a Better World! Pick up a reading log at any library or register online. Read and track 10 hours and show the completed log, paper or online, to library staff, then choose a free book. Every additional 10 hours you read will earn you a vote for something new in your library. All entries due by Aug. 31.
Events: Lots of fun events including the Read-a-thon, arts and crafts, Lego building, hula-hooping, kid-centric performances and even a flying toy demonstration from the Museum of Flight: Flying Gizmo Show. Find summer events here.
Teens: Sno-Isle's teen reading program also encourages teens to Build a Better World. Track hours of reading and 10 hours to win. Like the children's reading program, every additional 10 hours you read will earn you a vote for something new in your library! Teen events include DIY, movies, gaming and more.
The Timberline Regional libraries' summer reading program has also embraced the "Build a Better World" theme. Log 400 minutes of reading or other literacy activities to receive a book and coupons from Papa Murphy's and Northwest Trek/Point Defiance Zoo. Sign up at the library or online. Free programs, activities and prizes for all ages.
Events: Enjoy a number of fun and exciting activities like scavenger hunts, maker classes, building workshops and much more. Find a complete calendar of classes and events here.
Teens: Register for the Teen Summer Reading program online.
Bookstore summer reading programs
The University Book Store is kicking off their Mission: Summer Reading program. Pick up a Book Intel File at the U District, Mill Creek, or Tacoma store. Start with a 20 percent off coupon and then pick out a prize after reading five books. Get a free book, a coupon and a cool button after reading 10 books. Program runs May 25–Aug. 31.
Half Price Books has the Feed Your Brain program for pre-K–high school students June 1–July 31 (reading logs due before Sept. 1). Kids up to eighth grade can score $5 in HPB Bookworm Bucks for every 300 minutes of reading. High school students may write reviews of their favorite books to earn their Bookworm Bucks (one review per month).
Barnes & Noble stores present their Earn a Free Book summer reading program. Read any eight books this summer and record them in your Summer Reading Journal (English or Español). Tell us which part of the book is your favorite, and why. Turn in completed journals between May 16–Sept. 5 for a free book while supplies last!