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children-reading-bookGilbert, Ariz. - Maricopa County Reads, the premier summer reading program for 61 county libraries, including the Southeast Regional and Perry Libraries in Gilbert, kicks-off today. This year’s summer reading theme is FIZZ BOOM READ, with many events, programs, and materials for check-out focusing on science.

To officially participate, customers need only to register online at  Last year, more than 91,000 children, teens and adults participated and more than 1/3 of these individuals completed the program.  

This year, the program hopes to increase completions by rewarding reading accomplishments with digital merit badges and game challenges.  While anyone who reaches the completion standard of 1,000 points is eligible to receive a free book, this year’s program provides new and exciting incentives such as cool digital badges, game challenges, family-friendly programs and bragging rights, replacing last summer’s stickers, plush toys, fancy pencils and the like.

A new app called the Great Reading Adventure (GRA) was created to allow families to sign-up for summer reading, replacing an older, unwieldy Summer Reading Program (SRP) app.  Using the GRA app, participants can incentivize themselves for reaching their reading goals as well as keep track of their progress online.  

For each minute a participant reads, he or she earns one point toward his/her reading goal.  

Points are not only earned for logging leisurely reading activities but also for attending library events, completing reading lists, participating in games, and engaging in community experiences.

For example, Arizona Sealife Aquarium is an SRP partner.  When a summer reading participant obtains a “secret code” after visiting the aquarium and subsequently enters the code in his online summer reading log, he earns 25 points for that community experience and that adds up toward the points needed to earn a free book.
To get to 1,000 points, participants must complete the first four levels of the program identified in the Reading Adventure app.  

According to Caris O’Malley, Maricopa County Library District customer experience administrator and GRA creator, “Our aim is to challenge participants to go beyond the earn-a-book standard, urging them to complete the 46 additional levels of the GRA app.”

“This type of ‘gamification’ brings out a healthy sense of competition for participants to earn more badges, achieve the most worthy personal goals, amass many more points than a friend, and strive to get one’s name on the leaderboard,” O’Malley said.

More importantly, summer reading is one of the Library District’s major contributions to community literacy efforts.  It is believed that the GRA app will help kids maintain their literacy skills during the summer by challenging them with games and experiences that compel them to read, explore and discover. 

For more information about the 2014 Summer Reading Program or other activities at MCLD libraries, visit


Nelson Mitchell, Public Relations & Marketing
Phone:  602.652.3045