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Pages for Prizes: Summer Reading Programs in Puget Sound

Library and bookstore programs to spark the reading fire in everyone

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 emurray@parentmap.com.)

Library summer reading programs

Seattle Public Library: Astounding Tales of Nature!

The Seattle Public Library's 2016 Summer of Learning program for early learners, kids and teens officially begins on Monday, June 27. Get your free explorer's handbook filled with fun activities at any library or online. Complete at least five activities or read for 30 days or more and get your name on the wall. Then ask a librarian about the Super Secret Mystery Challenge! Completed handbooks can be used for Burke Museum admission for up to two adults and four children between July 1–Oct. 31, 2016. Adults can get in on the fun with 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 Summer of Learning guide filled with challenges. Enter to win prizes once for every challenge completed (up to five entries). Find programs just for teens here.

King County Library System: On Your Mark, Get Set...READ!

King County presents On Your Mark, Get Set...READ!, an online, interactive approach to summer reading that a number of libraries are using. This year the focus is to get kids moving and reading. Participants receive a Summer Learning Activity Book (download or pick up at your library) that lets kids color in the activities as they complete them. Reading/activity logs are available for both preschool and kids ages 5–12 now. Start collecting your halfway and finisher prizes July 18, available while supplies last until Aug. 31

Events: Fun events include music performances, BRICKS 4 Kidz, art workshops and more. Find the full lineup including ages and locations online.
Teens: King County's Get in the Game READ program is for kids in grades 6–12. Read for 12 hours or complete seven library-related activities and get an entry to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. Earn entries for each log completed June 1–Aug. 31. Each library will draw a random winner out of all entries received at that location. 

Tacoma Public Library

Tacoma’s Summer Reading Challenge, also part of the On Your Mark, Get Set...READ! program, runs June 11–Aug. 6 for kids, teens and adults. Read, earn digital badges and attend a variety of free activities. Last day to pick up prizes is Aug. 27 (available while supplies last).

Events: Find entertaining and educational events including Lego, Pacific Science Center workshops, puppet shows, My Little Pony, even mini golf inside the library — there's something for everyone.

Teens: Teens can sign up online. More information available on Saturday, June 11.

Pierce County Libraries

Pierce County's program, Summer Reading for All Ages , runs June 18–Aug. 31. Track your reading minutes and earn prizes at 5, 10 and 15 hours plus do bonus activities for more prizes (while supplies last). Separate reading logs 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 ChallengeJune 1–Aug. 31. Earn points and virtual badges online by tracking reading and exploring your interests, your library (find secret codes hidden in the stacks) and your community.

Snohomish County

Flex your muscles with Sno-Isle Libraries' Explore Summer: On Your Mark, Get Set...READ! Pick up a reading log at any library or register online. Prizes available at the Bronze (10 hours), Silver (25 hours) and Gold (50 hours) medal levels. All entries due by Aug. 31. Bonus: Kids can earn extra online badges with Beanstack, a mobile/tablet-friendly app that recommends books and apps for your child based on reading level and interest and keeps book lists and more.

Events: Lots of fun events including the Library Olympics, arts and crafts, hula-hooping, visits from the raptors from Sarvey Wildlife Center and kid-centric performances. Find summer events here.

Teens: Sno-Isle's teen reading program encourages teens to Get In the Game. Track hours of reading and earn prizes at 10, 25 and 50 hours. Bonus: submit reviews of books you read and the best reviews will be entered into the Librarian's Choice contest — one talented teen will win a pile of books! Teen events include DIY, movies, gaming and more. 

Thurston County

The Timberline Regional libraries' summer reading program “Summer at the Library” also uses the On Your Mark, Get Set...READ! program. Sign up at the library or online. Free programs, activities and prizes for all ages.

Events: Stay tuned to all the fun summer events here.

Teens: Sign up for the Teen Summer Reading program online.

 Bookstore summer reading programs

The University Book Store's Summer Explorer's program encourages kids pre-K–8th grade to sign up at the University District 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 21–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 8th 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). Find your local store here.

Barnes & Noble stores present Summer Reading Triathalon, a free summer reading program.  Kids in grades 1–6 complete at least three of the four events in the triathalon reading journal. Turn in completed journals between May 17–Sept. 6 for a free book while supplies last!

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