You Don't Have to Be a Kid to Do the Maricopa County Summer Reading Challenge

Burton Barr Central Library and all of the other public libraries in the city are taking part in the Maricopa County Reads program.
Burton Barr Central Library and all of the other public libraries in the city are taking part in the Maricopa County Reads program. Burton Barr Central Library

Summer reading programs usually are aimed at children. It's a way to keep kids in the habit of reading during the months they're out of school. You may have even participated in one when you were younger.

If you miss the structure of a reading regimen (and the prizes that go with it), the Maricopa County Library District has got the solution.

The Maricopa County Reads program runs June 1 through August 1. This year's theme is "Oceans of Possibility," and people of all ages will try to reach a goal of 1,000 points by the closing date.

Participants earn one point for every minute of reading, and are encouraged to set a goal of reading 20 minutes per day. Besides that, readers can earn extra points by completing certain challenges — reading a book in a particular genre, visiting a museum, or participating in an exercise activity. Attending community experiences is another way to earn points. Readers also earn digital badges for finishing challenges.

At the 500-point level, everyone gets a drink coupon from Raising Cane's. Children 11 and under get a free personal pizza coupon from Peter Piper Pizza, and a free meal at Rubio's; teens and adults get free guacamole and chips at Rubio's. When you earn 750 points, you get an Arizona State Parks pass and Phoenix Mercury tickets (one person can claim up to four tickets). At 1,000 points, participants can choose a free book from over 100 titles.

For people who hit the 1,000-point goal, drawings will be held for bigger prizes, like an Arizona Science Center prize bundle or a Harkins Theatres family pack.

To sign up, visit the Maricopa County Reads website. You'll get a free gently used book and a sunshade just for registering. Then, on June 1, you can start earning points.

“Most people don’t realize our summer reading programs are open to adults as well as children," says Polly Bonnett, Mesa Public Library Director. “Reading over the summer is vital for children to keep up their reading fluency and comprehension skills. That’s why we want to make summer reading a family affair and encourage parents to join in on reading with their kids.” 
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Jennifer Goldberg is the culture editor and Best of Phoenix editor for Phoenix New Times.