Sixty-five libraries across the county are gearing up for Summer Reading as Maricopa County Reads opens June 1 with a community goal of 50 million minutes read. Maricopa County Reads is one of the county’s largest literacy efforts and plays a vital role in reducing learning loss while transitioning between school years.

“Building a community of readers means we are building a community of problem solvers, collaborators, and lifelong learners,” says Bill Gates, Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, District 1. “The Summer Reading program is just one way to continue building an even brighter future for Maricopa County.”

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 in-person and virtual events hosted by librarians and local performers, completing summer reading challenges, and participating in community experiences to find secret codes while exploring Maricopa County. Prizes vary based on the number of points readers achieve. Readers who achieve 1,000 points can choose a free book for their home library or to donate to a local Head Start classroom. The theme of this year’s program is “Oceans of Possibilities,” encouraging readers of all ages to explore the many stories from under the sea.

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. The Maricopa County Reads summer reading program began in the summer of 2013. It has continued to grow, and now hosts 65 public, tribal and military base libraries within Maricopa County. More than 80,000 children, teens, and adults participate in the program annually.

The program runs through August 1 and all Phoenix Public Library locations are participating.

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