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Fairfax County, Virginia

Dig Into Reading this Summer at the Fairfax County Public Library

The Summer Reading Program helps students keep up their reading skills while school is out and encourages a lifelong love of reading. Kids and teens earn a coupon book with great prizes for reading a certain number of books (or having books read to them). Join the online chat June 7, 10 – 11 a.m.

Michael Kavich :

Good morning, I look forward to answering your questions about the Fairfax County Summer Reading Program. The Summer Reading Program is a partnership between the library and Fairfax County Public Schools to encourage kids and teens to read for fun and keep up their reading skills over the summer. We have scheduled a lot of great performers this year as well.

wonde : how do I register summer book reading programm

Michael Kavich :

To register for the Summer Reading Program, visit the library’s website at and click on “Summer Reading Program” beginning June 18.  This will bring you to a page with two buttons – one for kids, one for teens.  Click on the appropriate button to register and begin logging books as they are read.  You may also visit a library branch to register in person.  The program runs from June 18 through August 31.

Mee Kris : My son is turning 5 this summer, and is reading early level 1 and some 2 readers. Will he qualify for the Summer Reading program or is it only for school going children? Thank you.

Michael Kavich :

Yes, all children and teens – from preschool through grade 12 – can participate in the program.  You may even count books that are read to a child by a parent, older sibling, etc.

Anonymous User : What makes you choose to read a certain number of books instead of doing a certain amount of time? Some kids might choose to read a book that is very long as opposed to other beginner chapter books that are quicker reads.

Michael Kavich :

Great question, and one that I’ve received a few times this year.  I think the idea of counting the number of hours spent reading instead of the number of books is worth considering.  I will discuss this with other library staff members.  Meanwhile, please know that it is fine for a child to count a big book twice (instead of once) on his/her reading log to reflect that it took more time to finish.  We always leave it up to the parent to decide if a book was challenging or long enough to be counted twice.

Anonymous User : We attend a private school - can my child still participate? Are materials available at the library? How soon can we pick them up? Thanks!

Michael Kavich :

Yes, all kids - public school students, private school students, homeschoolers, preschoolers, etc. - may participate. Materials will be available at library branches when the program begins on June 18. Information will also be available online at

Anonymous User : Could you tell us what some examples are of the coupons in the book? Are they good for a decent/extended amount of time or run out quickly?

Michael Kavich :

The coupon booklet prize features many great offers and a complete list of sponsors will be posted on our website at the start of the Summer Reading Program (June 18).  To give you a sampling, the coupons include: free game of bowling at four AMF locations; free admission to any one of the Northern VA Regional Park Authority’s five waterparks; free kids cup of Italian ice at two Rita’s locations; free soft serve cone at McDonald’s throughout the county.  Some of the coupons are seasonal and expire at the end of summer (like the waterparks), others expire later in the fall or winter, and some are good for only certain dates like the Potomac Nationals game on August 2.

Anonymous User : Will there be events for kids and families this summer at the library?

Michael Kavich : Yes, we have lots of fun performances scheduled for families, school age kids, and teens.  Programs include puppet shows, Mexican music/dance, stories in sign language, science experiments, live animals, duct tape crafts for teens, live bands at Jammin' Java, and a visit from author Isaac Marion who wrote the teen zombie novel Warm Bodies.  Check our website for details at Be sure to register in advance (online, by phone, or in person at a library branch) for each event you would like to attend since summer events often fill up.

Anonymous User : Are the coupon books in the same area as the library the kids go to. Last year there were a lot that were only for 1 type of company location a long way from us. Example, a coupon for a free ice cream cone but it's in Alexandria and we live in Herndon. Obviously not helpful to them and they get disappointed. And the expiration dates should be a year as well. Otherwise, we love this program and think it is a great way to keep summer reading going. Also, there really should be more advertising of this program to get more kids reading. We come across kids all the time who are unaware of this and never read for pleasure, An email to all elementary schools that they could deliver to students and their parents would help.

Michael Kavich :

The sponsors of our coupon book prize represent businesses and organizations throughout our community.  Some have multiple locations, some have only a single location.  We realize the coupons that are redeemable at multiple locations are especially great for our customers, since our library system covers the entire county from Lorton to Herndon.  But we value the single locations as well, since they still offer value to many kids and allow small businesses to support their local library branches’ Summer Reading Program efforts.  Also, the single location coupons are spread around the county – Alexandria, Falls Church, Chantilly – so kids in different areas can enjoy some of the coupon offers even if they can’t travel for others.

As for expiration dates, we strive for dates that go until the end of the year or at least in the fall so kids that finish the program at the end of summer will still get value from the prize.  But some sponsors are unable to offer fall or winter dates, often due to the seasonal nature of their business (waterpark, etc.).

You also mention advertising – we certainly do our best to promote the Summer Reading Program in various ways – print, online, etc.  We send a half-page flyer home with every student that attends Fairfax County elementary schools.  And we are always looking for new ways to spread the word.  For several years, we’ve produced a fun Public Service Announcement video about the program (viewable on our YouTube page), last year we created colorful “Sign Up Now” banners for each branch, and this year we are planning to advertise on County Connector buses.  Keep an eye on them!  And tell all your friends about the Summer Reading Program - help us spread the word.

Thanks for your support and the kind words about the Summer Reading Program.

P.S. - Here is a link to the YouTube video (with huge thanks to Channel 16):

Michael Kavich : Oops, I sent the wrong link to the YouTube video.  Here is the correct one:

Mary : Good Morning. Just wondering why the program is only considering the number of books read as opposed to the amount of time read per day (or considering a combination). My 9 yr old really wants to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy this summer. (When i read it as an adult it took me three months!) I want him to enjoy reading and not rush through just to keep up with his siblings and classmates but even though he is an avid reader he could still missout on getting his name on the wall which is fun for all kids to see their accomplishments up there! sorry if this is a repeat question.

Michael Kavich : Please see my answer about reading time vs. number of titles above, and WOW how cool that your son is tackling Tolkein.  Great choice!  I would suggest that each book in the trilogy could count as at least two books (maybe more? - we'll leave it up to you as the parent).

Sonia Tejada-Parent Liaison FV : Could you hold programs for Non-English parents that want to support their kids in this reading program. In the schools we connect the families with the libraries programs that you offer, and it will be very helpful if you have a Spanish speaker contact that continues the work we do at the schools, making this families more welcome in the process of opening an account, selecting the right books by age and read to their kids in the language that they are familiar with. Our goal as the libraries goal is to improve the literacy among our students during summer time as well. Thanks for listening

Michael Kavich :

That is a good idea.  This is not something we offer at the present time, but there are services we do offer that might help you.  Some of our branches have staff members that speak languages other than English, and even those that don’t can often contact a staff member at another branch to help a customer that speaks another language.  Along the same lines, some branches may offer regular programs – such as bilingual storytimes – that feature languages such as Spanish.  We also strive for diversity among our Summer Reading Program performers – this year’s offerings include Latin American music and dance with Andres and Mexican music and dance with Los Quetzales.  Please contact an individual branch to see if they have a Spanish-speaking staff member that can help with the services you ask about – helping someone open an account, select books, etc.  If the branch does not have a suitable staff member, see if they can seek out help from another branch and have that person get back to you.

Anonymous User : The number of e-books is increasing, but why aren't there even more available, especially for summer reading selections?

Michael Kavich : We are very aware of the increased demand for eBooks, and have been purchasing additional eBook titles and copies as our budget allows.  Our selections are also dependent on which titles are made available to the library market by publishers.  In the past 12 months we have added almost 13,000 copies of eBooks and eAudiobooks to our Overdrive collection.

Anonymous User : How many children usually participte in the program....

Michael Kavich : Last year, more than 48,000 kids and teens participated, and we hope even more kids will join the program this summer.  The number has increased over the past few summers.  Onward and upward!

Michael Kavich :

Thank you everyone for your questions. The Summer Reading Program is an important part of the summer for a lot of kids and teens in Fairfax County. If you know any that have not participated yet, please tell them about it, and remind them about the great coupon book they can earn. I also want to take this opportunity to thank our many sponsors for their support including the Friends of the George Mason Regional Library; the Fairfax Library Foundation, the Friends of the Kings Park Library, and all the businesses and organizations, including the Fairfax County Park Authority, that donate prizes. We couldn’t have such a great program without them.  For more information about the Summer Reading Program, visit our website at