Reading this summer can do more than help students avoid the “summer learning slide” or provide the rest of us some temporary relief from the weather.
Thanks to the Tacoma Public Library and Pierce County Library System’s annual summer reading programs, book worms can complete simple tasks and log their hours spent turning pages to win prizes, enter raffles and/or earn new books for their branches.
Pierce County children’s prizes will include discounted admission to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Northwest Trek or a Tacoma Rainiers game. Adults and teens can enter into raffles for gift cards to local businesses and online retailers.
And for readers with overdue books or materials, their first 10 hours of reading will take $5 off any fines.
The Pierce County program will begin Saturday (June 24) with “Read-a-Thon” events at each of the county’s 18 full-service libraries from 1 to 3 p.m. Activities will vary, but may include face painting, story time and readers’ theater.
Each hour attendees spend reading during the event earns the library branch a new book.
The Tacoma Public Library program, which began June 1, is following a bingo format where readers accomplish varying tasks and reading challenges depending on their age. Participants can complete one bingo card per week for a maximum of five through July 29, the last day entries are accepted.
Bingo prizes include coupons from local businesses, tickets to the Celebration Party at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on Aug. 5 and entry into weekly and grand prize raffles.
Last summer, more than 30,000 students were reached through Pierce County program, and children up to 12 logged 143,620 hours of reading, a 16 percent increase from summer 2015, according to the Library System.
“Keeping students reading during the summer is critical to keeping them on the path to school success and graduation,” said Georgia Lomax, executive director for the Library System. “Studies show that children need opportunities to continue thinking and learning to avoid summer learning slide.
“The summer reading program helps students maintain their skills. It is also fun, free learning for all ages.”
On top of reading prizes, hundreds of events following this year’s theme of “Build a Better World” will be held throughout the summer for people of all ages at the Pierce County and Tacoma libraries.
At Pierce County branches, events catering to children include demonstrations about flying with parachutes, gliders and stomp rockets from the Museum of Flight and visits from Point Defiance animals.
As for adults, the Pierce County system will host visits from nine local authors, in addition to book discussions and seminars on everything from container gardening to solar power.
The Tacoma Library branches have visits from the Seattle Reptile Guy planned, in addition to art, robotics and Lego workshops over the course of the summer.
Pierce County’s summer reading program plans to go mobile to reach people in adult-care facilities or who are homebound, in child care or are children in low-income neighborhoods.
Also, beginning Monday (June 26), the Parkland/Spanaway Library, 13718 Pacific Ave. S., will provide free lunches from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on weekdays through Aug. 4 for children up to 18.
Donations of nonperishable food items for the benefit of the Emergency Food Network are being accepted throughout the summer at any county library.