Build a Better World: Kansas City Public Library’s Youth Summer Reading Program

Summer is here and I don’t know about you, but I’m always excited for summertime adventures with my little guy. For our family, that means weekends spent exploring nature trails, afternoons at the community pool, warm evenings at the ice cream shop, and just enjoying the longer day and the extra sunlight. But one of the things I’m looking forward to most is the Library’s Youth Summer Reading Program!

This year’s youth theme at KCPL, and libraries across the Metro and the country, is Build a Better World.  The idea is to encourage kids of all ages (literally birth – 18) not only to read books about making the world a better place, but also taking part in activities and events that engage them with their community. KCPL’s Summer Reading runs May 22 – July 28. We signed up our 2-year-old, and he’s already earned a few badges in a very short time.

The Kansas City Public Library is adding a twist to 2017 Summer Reading – the yearly Adult Winter Program has moved from winter to summer to merge with the kids! While the youth are “Building a Better World”, the Library is encouraging adults to do the same and Push Your Shelf. We love a good pun, and while the name of the adult program makes us chuckle, it also because it sends a good message: push yourself when it comes to how and what you read. For example, read a book outside your comfort zone; complete a personalized reading profile to get some good suggestions; try using a different format, like an audiobook or an e-reader if you haven’t yet (I will fully admit I prefer a physical book over an e-reader, so perhaps this will be on my summer reading list).

So why should your family get involved in summer reading? 
  • Free stuff: Kids get a free book for logging 20 activities. If they log 20 additional activities, for a total of 40, they get an additional prize once they’re done: a bib for the little ones, building kits and puzzles for the grade school kids, and headphones for the teenagers. Don’t worry, you get something too: adult readers who read 5 books will earn a limited-edition pint glass! 
  • Logging: With the summer reading website, you can log and track your reading. Every time you read a book, attend a Summer Reading event, or take part in community activities, you simply log on and fill out how many minutes you read, what activities you did, etc. Both the kids and adults can do it. You can have little competition!
  • Win tickets to LEGOLAND and SEA LIFE Aquarium: When you log your progress, you earn multiple entries into our end-of-summer raffle to win tickets to these popular Kansas City attractions. When it’s August and it’s 100 degrees and you’re losing your mind because of the heat, you can say “hey! We won those Aquarium passes! Let’s go see fish in air conditioning!”

Free stuff aside, the best reason to get everyone reading is honestly for the experience of reading itself, and what it does for our brains. During summer vacation, kids can easily experience what’s known as the summer slide, where they can lose the learning gains they made during the school year. When school starts again, many students have fallen behind.  Reading just 20 minutes a day can prevent that. Twenty minutes is the perfect amount of time to knock out a couple chapters of Harry Potter before going to sleep.

No matter where you live in the Metro, your local library is taking part. It’s free and it’s easy to register. Log on to the website and or head to your favorite branch to sign up! Happy reading!

By Courtney Lewis, Media Relations Coordinator for The Kansas City Public Library

This blog originally appeared in Kansas City Moms Blog on May 29, 2017.