Summer Reading Program

Child reading and imagining a dragon - PBS Kids

The 2020 Summer Reading Program will be “Imagine Your Story” and will feature fairy tale, fantasy, and mythology themes!

New to summer reading at our library? FAQ below.

2019 Summer Reading FAQ in Spanish here

For information about our Adult Summer Reading Program, click here.

Fun Activities

See the Library Events Online Calendar for more info.

FREE summer lunch

Lunch for ages 1-18 years served on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer in the big meeting room.

Snacks daily for youth. (in youth department, year round.)

Read. Earn Points. Get Prizes.

A reading and literacy skills incentive program is offered each summer. All readers earn points by stamping their points log when they visit the library; earning points for each of the different stamps they collect. The summer reader must be present at the library to sign up. Readers may stamp their log any day the library is open; please note the summer reading station will close 1/2 hour before the library closes.

Extra Points:

Chapter book readers can earn points by visiting the library, reading, and filling in the Book Bingo on the back of the points log. This involves reading and completing “challenges.” A challenge station at the library’s youth desk has more info.

Readers trade points for prizes between late June and the start of Marshalltown schools in August. Teens may choose to participate in the points log program OR choose to participate in the Teen Quick & Simple option (see postcard flyer at the library.)


Q: What is the summer reading program?

A: The summer reading program has two major componentsactivities and a reading incentives program. Youth of all ages are encouraged to participate in one or both of these components.

Q: What activities does the library offer?

A: Toddlers & Twos, Storytime, & Jammies Jamboree are programs for the youngest children. Programs for school-aged children are scheduled on a variety of days. Play Day is geared toward ages 3-7 (with a caregiver), but open to any age. Special events flyers & the online calendar will include info about ages. All children ages 7 and younger need to have a caregiver with them, whether attending a program or just using the library.

Q: How does a summer reader earn points?

A sample of the 2019 Summer Reading Program points log
2019 Summer Reading Program points log

A: Youth of all ages are welcome to participate in the reading incentive program, which encourages reading & other literacy-related challenges to keep brains in good shape over the summer. You can earn points on your own schedule & redeem those points for prizes. Sign up for points logs any time in the summer (sign-up begins after Memorial Day). Points are earned by stamping your log when you visit the library.

Each year, there are several different stamps worth 20 points offered over the course of the summer. The act of stamping at the youth desk is a promise (honor system) that kids have been spending time reading during the summer weeks. No book list or time log is required. Library staff reserve the right to ask summer readers about their summer reading.

If summer readers collect 3 stamps, they earn a 100-point bonus! There are also participation rewards of a free Blank Park Zoo pass after 2 different stamps, and an adult/child pair of Iowa Cubs tickets for the Iowa Reader game with 3 different stamps. A final bonus of 50 points will be given if readers stamp at least 5 stamps on their logs.

Click here to view 2019 Summer Reading Program points log as .pdf

Q: How does a chapter book reader (3rd grade and older) earn extra points?

2019 Summer Reading Book Bingo
2019 Summer Reading Book Bingo


A: School-aged kids (usually 3rd grade and older) and teens who are independent readers (are able to read chapter books) may choose to earn extra points by working on the Bingo on the back of the points log. 25 extra points are earned per bingo, up to a total of 300 with a full “blackout.” There is a “Blackout Bonus” of 50 points!

**Instructions for the “Challenge” spaces will begin partway into the summer**

Click here to view 2019 Summer Reading Bingo sheet as .pdf


Q: How do readers use points to get prizes?

A: The library has a variety of prizes from which readers can choose. Throughout the summer, the display in the glass case shows the prizes available and how many points are needed to trade for that prize. Points can be spent all at once, or a few at a time, anytime after the 3rd stamp. Points spent to reduce fines may be applied earlier in the summer, if needed (ask library youth staff).

In addition, there are “end of summer” prizes displayed at the bottom of the glass case in youth. These prizes will be awarded through a drawing in mid-August. Participants need not be present for the drawing to win a prize. Kids earn drawing slips by earning points: the more points, the more drawing slips.

Q: What about teens?

A: Teens of any age (7th grade – 12th grade) can participate. Earn entries into a Grand Prize drawing–one entry per title of each book/magazine you read, or two entries if your book is longer than 150 pages. You can submit up to two titles per week (4 titles if they’re all manga–1 title per slip) in person or via email between June and August. Get up to three participation prizes (movie ticket, free book, $10 off fines, food or activity coupon, swim pass, etc) for each five slips submitted, plus an entry for Grand Prize items for each slip.

Q: How do teens get prizes?

A: Sign up, then fill out a drawing entry slip (ask at the youth desk) for each book, magazine, or graphic novel you finish reading (or listening to) between June and August. If you book is longer than 150 pages, you get 2 slips for that title. On the back of each slip, mark one item from the Grand Prize list you’d like to have a chance to win. If you are unable to get to the library, call or email your name and the title to (subject: Teen SRP), and we’ll fill out slips for you (tell us your Grand Prize choice to mark, too!).

Q: What are the Teen prizes?

A: Everyone who turns in at least 5 slips will earn a FREE food or activity coupon, OR $10 off fines, OR a free book from our prize cart (up to 3 times). Grand Prize choices in previous years have been as follows: $50 off your library account (to be applied to current–even lost item–charges), $25 Game Stop gift card (3 winners), 500 points to spend on summer reading prizes of your choice, $50 cash, a Writer’s Prize Pack, Basic Toolbox with Tools, or a Skincare/Make-up Pack (thanks to generous donors), or your choice of an author-autographed book. Ask for more details about prizes. We’ll draw the last week of summer and call you if you win!

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