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The Maricopa County Reads summer reading program gets underway soon.

The program begins Tuesday, June 1, playing a vital role in helping reduce the “summer slide,” the learning loss experienced between school years.

The theme of this year’s program is “Tails & Tales,” encouraging readers to explore the many stories of the animal kingdom by reading, completing challenges, attending virtual events and participating in community experiences.

“The summer reading program is a great way to keep kids learning, engaged and ready for the next school year,” said Jack Sellers, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, District 1. “Maricopa County Reads is not only fun, but it is also one of the county’s major community literacy efforts.”

The Summer Reading Program encourages readers of all ages to read 20 minutes a day. 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 virtual events hosted by librarians and local performers, completing online library challenges, and participating in community experiences to find secret codes outside of the library.

Prizes vary based on the amount of points readers achieve. After reaching 500 points, participants receive a free food coupon from various participating restaurants. After reaching 750 points, participants receive an Arizona State Parks Pass. Readers who achieve 1,000 points can choose a free book for their home library, or to donate to a local Head Start classroom. Grand prize drawings will also take place at each participating library for the chance to win a Phoenix Zoo Bundle, or family passes to Legoland Discovery Center and Sea Life Aquarium.