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

Build a Better World: KCPL's Summer Reading ProgramSummer 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 Kansas City Public Library’s Summer Reading Program!

This year’s 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 Program runs May 22 – July 28; the other Metro libraries are generally in the same time frame, give or take a week.

The Kansas City Public Library is adding a twist to 2017 Summer Reading – the Adult Winter Program is moving from winter to summer to merge with the kids! While the kids are “Building a Better World,” the Library is encouraging adults to do the same and “Push Your Shelf.” We here at the Library love a good pun, and we actually voted on this name because it’s a pretty great pun, but also because it sends a good message: 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 ereader, 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 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!”

Perhaps 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. Below are ways to sign up at locations across the area. Happy reading!

Courtney LewisAbout the author: Courtney is a New Englander by birth (go Red Sox!), and a Kansas Citian by choice (go Royals!). She moved here in 2004, and quickly fell in love with the city and the people, and decided to make Kansas City HOME. Mom to toddler James, and partner to very patient Scott, she and her family live in Waldo. Courtney is a lifelong library lover, who left a 20 year award-winning career in broadcast journalism to become part of the public affairs team at the award-winning Kansas City Public Library. On the weekend, you can find her and her family exploring playgrounds, stocking up on library books, and folding laundry. Her greatest adult accomplishment is that one time she went to Target to get cat litter and baby food… and walked out with just cat litter and baby food.

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