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At the Library: Summer Reading Program kicks off online, offline

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summer reading

A few weeks ago (or maybe it was months; I honestly can’t tell anymore), just as the lockdown began and the library was forced to temporarily close its doors, I shared a bit of not-quite-novel advice: I encouraged everyone to hold onto whatever bits of normalcy we could glean.

To that end, I’m excited (and relieved) to announce that, despite our doors being closed, it’s summer reading season at Yakima Valley Libraries! This year’s theme: “Imagine Your Story.”

Many of you know the routine: Each summer, in order to help combat the “summer slide,” which occurs when kids stop reading regularly during the summer months, we host the Summer Reading Program, a reading challenge for kids and teens — one where they can earn rewards for reaching reading goals.

This year, we’re changing things up a bit, and there will be two ways to participate:

Option 1: Online registration using the ReaderZone app

Kids Program: Participants in preschool to fifth grade will be challenged to read 20 minutes a day for 20 days, from June 15 to Aug. 15.

Teen Program: Participants in grades 6-12 will be challenged to read eight books from June 15 to Aug. 15.

To sign up for either program online, go to and look for instructions in the drop-down menu.

Option 2: Paper reading log

Kids Program: Similar to the online challenge, kids from preschool to fifth grade will be asked to read at least 20 minutes a day, but the paper reading log features fun prompts like “Read a Book in a Funny Accent” to make the challenge a bit more interactive.

Plus, with the paper reading log, kids can work toward their 20-day goal by completing various activities (like “attending” an online Summer Reading Program; entering the Summer Reading Program art and writing contest, and more).

Teen Program: Again, the print reading log for teens is based on the same goals as the online option: Read at least eight books by Aug. 15. However, the print reading log has a ton of funny topics, themes and reading categories for middle and high schoolers to choose from as they work toward their reading goal.

To print a paper reading log for either program at home, go to and look for instructions in the drop-down menu.

Remember, kids and teens will earn reading rewards as they work their way through the program, but because our buildings are still closed, they will not be able to collect reading rewards during the summer months.

Participants who complete a paper reading log are asked to hold onto the log, and all participants — paper-based and online — should check back on the Summer Reading Program page ( after Aug. 15 for information about how and where to collect reading rewards.

Phew! Now that we’ve got the nitty-gritty housekeeping out of the way, I’d like to take a moment to put in a plug for this year’s summer reading events.

I’ve been working with all kinds of performers and organizations to put together a calendar of on-demand (online) “shows” that you and your family can tune in to on our website, our YouTube channel or our Facebook page, at your convenience. (Did someone say puppet shows, and a magic trick tutorial?)

I’m excited to add that many of these prerecorded “shows” will also be available to view on our local public access television channel, YCTV, beginning in early July.

In addition, we’ll be offering a variety of “live” online science shows, including planetarium shows hosted by Seattle’s Museum of Flight. Those shows require preregistration, so you’ll find dates, times and registration information on our Summer Reading Program events page,

Be sure to check back over the next few days and weeks; I’ll be adding additional performers and activities periodically, including resources for at-home literacy-building and learning.

• Krystal Corbray is programming and marketing librarian for Yakima Valley Libraries. She and other library staffers write this weekly column for SCENE. Learn more at

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