Participants aren't asked to read a certain number of books; rather, they set their own goals.
"I really like the fact that we leave it up to the kids to succeed," said Kathy Dunham, Lacey's youth services librarian.
Each program has its own Web site, with games, book lists, events, a reading log and opportunities to write book reviews.
Participants will receive a book bag with program materials and a calendar of events. They will receive free pizza and admission to South Sound attractions when they track the books they read over the summer in a reading log. Those who complete the program also will be entered in a drawing for an iPod media player.
Dunham said all things mysterious are sure to be a big hit among young readers.
"I think it's that idea of what if: What if this really exists? What if this really happens? What would I do in this kind of situation? It's just those unknown answers that intrigue us."
The mystery theme lends itself to fun programs for kids, teens and families. Participants can learn to analyze handwriting, solve mini-mysteries with clues and learn about astrology, in addition to getting great reading recommendations.
Twenty-four teen and pre-teen volunteers will help sign up their peers for the reading program. They participated in a Saturday training session where they learned how the program worked, and stuffed packets for participants.
"I think it's fun because you're trying to encourage people to read more," said 12-year-old Samantha Pouch, who's been an avid reader since second grade and who guesses she'll read about 30 books this summer.
What does she like about reading? "How your mind can go anywhere when you're reading, and that you're in your own world."
Why read this summer?
Research shows that reading is important for kids to maintain the skills learned the previous year, Dunham said. Kids who don't read often slip backward.
A summer reading program is a good way to keep kids excited and motivated during their months off, she said.
"Then they start out the year in a good way," she said.
To sign up, go to www.trlib.org/teens.htm, www.trlib.org/kids.htm or go to the library. Also online, people can solve mysteries, decode puzzles and discover a variety of book lists, including books that youth librarians have talked about during end-of-year visits to South Sound schools.
Books to get excited about this summer
n "Clementine," by Sara Pennypacker
n "Runaway," by Wendelin Van Draanen
n "Tales of the Cryptids," by Kelly Milner Halls
n "Jade Green: A Ghost Story," by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
n "Locked Inside," by Nancy Werlin
n e_SDLq Runner," by Carl Deuker
n Mysteries Surround Us (for grades 2-6): Monday, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Kids can participate in puzzles, experiments and activities that explore the weird and wonderful mysteries that surround us.
n Get a Clue for Red, White & Blue (for children ages 12 and under): Kids can drop in all week for activities and prizes.
n Around the Wheel Astrology for Teens (for middle and high school): July 9, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Teens should bring their birth date, time and place, and Marie Poland will explain astrological signs, planets and houses, and how they reflect in people's personality and relationships.
n Preschool Story Time and Craft (for ages 3-6): July 11, 18 and 25, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Children will get a jump start on reading by attending library story times, checking out books and reading at home with their families.
n Fairy Tale Fear Factor (for grades 3-6): July 16, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Not every fairy tale feast is tasty. Kids can try their appetite on Little Miss Muffet's curds and whey or take the Pumpkin Eater challenge. Not everything is edible, but participants will make a craft to remember the day. Registration is required. Call 360-491-3860 beginning July 9. A permission slip must be signed by a parent or guardian before the event.
n What Does Your Handwriting Tell About You? (for middle and high school students): July 23, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Teens will learn what their handwriting reveals about them. Gloria Peach, a certified master graphologist, will show participants how to use handwriting analysis techniques to identify personality traits.