Maricopa County Reads is Back & More Vital than ever to Preventing the “Summer Slide”

Imagine Your Story banner

PHOENIX, Ariz. – May 20 – Homes across the country transformed into classrooms as students left their schools two months before the traditional summer break this year. Now, as the weather warms and the official academic year comes to an end, many worry the impact of the “Summer Slide”—the learning loss experienced while transitioning between school years—may be steeper than normal.

Maricopa County officials are encouraging residents – especially young readers – to continue their at-home learning and reduce the “Summer Slide” by including the County’s annual summer reading program into their summer plans. The award-winning online platform encourages reading all summer long, while earning great prizes and participating in fun challenges all from the comfort of home at http://Read20az.com (English) or http://leepor20az.com (Spanish).

“Summer reading is critical for children to retain knowledge and skills learned throughout the year,” said Clint Hickman, Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, District 4. “The Summer Reading Program offers a great opportunity to keep your kids engaged, reading and ready for the next school year.”

More than 60 libraries across Maricopa County participate in the summer reading program, in which people can log their reading online, complete challenges, and attend virtual performances to win prizes. Maricopa County residents are encouraged to register for the program now so they are ready to begin on June 1 when participants can start logging their summer reading and activities.

“Our summer reading program is not only fun, but it is also one of the County’s major community literacy efforts,” said Cindy Kolaczynski, Maricopa County Library District Director and County Librarian. “Summer reading keeps literacy and comprehension skills sharp through challenges and experiences that spark excitement about learning and reading.”

This year’s theme is “Imagine Your Story” and 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 programs and completing online challenges.

Avatar and challenges

Prizes include a free personal pizza from Peter Piper Pizza, free lemonade from Raising Cane’s, and an Arizona State Park pass. Grand Prize drawings will also take place at each participating library for the chance to win family passes to Legoland Discovery Center/Sea Life Aquarium. Readers who achieve 1,000 points can choose a free book for their home library, or can donate it to a local Head Start classroom. Last year, Head Start classrooms in Maricopa County received more than 1,500 books thanks to the generosity of summer readers.



  • The Maricopa County Reads summer reading program went online in 2013. Annual participation grows each year, with more than 80,000 children, teens, and adults participating in the 2019 program. This has included participation from more than 60 libraries across Maricopa County, including public, tribal and military libraries. The software used in the summer reading program was developed by the Maricopa County Library District with support from the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, and federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The software is an open source project that is available at no cost to libraries.



  • Registration open now
  • Program runs June 1 through August 1



  • 500 Points:
    • Free personal pizza coupon from Peter Piper Pizza (ages 0-11)
    • Free lemonade coupon from Raising Cane’s (all ages)
  • 750 Points:
    • Arizona State Park Pass (all ages)
  • 1,000 Points:
    • Free Book (all ages)
    • Family passes to Legoland Discovery Center/Sea Life

Full details about the program can be found at: MARICOPA COUNTY READS FAQ.


The Maricopa County Library District (MCLD) is a special taxing district that runs 18 libraries countywide. MCLD inspires curiosity, encourages discovery and exploration of new worlds, and helps residents reconnect with their community. In 2019, MCLD held more than 6,700 events for all ages, nearly 83,000 children and adults participated in the Summer Reading Program, and 2.9 million customers visited an MCLD library. Maricopa County and Queen Creek residents and property owners get an MCLD library card at no cost. For more information, visit https://mcldaz.org/.