Ready. Set. Learn!

Categories: Featured, Summer Learning Challenge

As of June 24, the sounds of summer learning can be heard across Chicago Public Library.  

Summer Learning Challenge

Happy Exploring this Summer!

It was an exciting day at the McKinley Park branch. It was the first day of the Summer Learning Challenge and special visitors stopped by to help us kick off the season. Commissioner Andrea Telli, First Lady Amy Eshleman, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined our young explorers to officially launch Chicago Public Library’s award-winning summer program.

This was the first major library event since both the Commissioner and Mayor took office, making this year’s Summer Learning Challenge extra special.

The Summer Learning Challenge is CPL’s proactive response to fighting the summer slide–the loss of learning during school break. According to research, children can lose as much as two months’ worth of reading and math skills during the summer!

“Summer matters. This is especially true for  children and families who may not have access to high-quality summer activities. Present in all 77 neighborhoods CPL’s Summer Learning Challenge gives children and teens the summer education they deserve,” explains Commissioner Telli.

Summer Learning Challenge
Children at Woodson Regional branch learn how to code and program their own game!

The Library has Something for Everyone

The Summer Learning Challenge has a comprehensive set of activities for children of all ages and learner types. This year’s theme is Explorers at Play.

Kids 0-13 can develop the habit of reading 20 minutes a day, discover hands-on STEAM experiments, unleash their creativity during performances, and explore the world around them through field trips around the city−all of which complement what they learn throughout the program.

In collaboration with Chicago Public Schools, Northwestern University, and First Lady Amy Eshleman, two coding boot camps will be offered at various Chicago Public Library locations. The Coding and Game Design With Kids will teach children 7 and up how to develop games using visual programming language. Playgramming Coding Camp is open to middle school students to learn to build online applications, program robots, and even create musical tracks.

Teens are welcome to stop by their local branch to hang out and explore their interests at one of 19 YOUmedia spaces. At YOUmedia, teens can make friends in a safe space while tinkering with digital media, art, design, fashion and more. Making the summer learning experience more engaging, teens can get their We are Chicago bingo cards and challenge themselves to complete as many activities as possible for a chance to win cool raffle prizes.

Whatever children or teens’ interests are−art, reading, tech, music−they can find it at Chicago Public Library.

A Powered Library is An Empowered Chicago

Summer Learning Challenge
Photo credit: Chicago Public Library

Chicago Public Library shares Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to ensuring that Chicago’s young people remain engaged, safe, and supported this summer and year-round. As she spoke with kids, parents, and librarians, memories of her own childhood library, where she would pick out books and sit at a corner to read came flooding back.

Having been raised relying on the resources of a public library, Mayor Lightfoot understands the critical role they play in the health and well-being of communities.

“Libraries are where magic happens. It’s where kids can be kids and use their imagination to discover possibilities. It’s a place of refuge for so many people that would not otherwise have access to the resources they need to succeed,” says Mayor Lightfoot.

Recognizing that CPL is a trusted institution, Mayor Lightfoot will continue to leverage our stellar institution to connect to different communities across the city. “Libraries are ground zero for everything that is good about Chicago,” she stressed with a passion of a library advocate. Watch the Mayor’s full speech here.

For thousands of children, that work continues with the Summer Learning Challenge.

Summer Learning Challenge is an award-winning, model program being replicated in cities across the country and internationally. Through this program thousands of children have access to a full summer of learning engagement.

In 2018, more than 110,000 kids read 105 million minutes. Research shows that participants of the Summer Learning Challenge demonstrate 15% gains in reading and 20% in math compared to their peers who did not participate. Summer Learning engagement works! A gift of $25 sponsors four kids to a full summer of books, field trips, performances, workshops, and other educational. resources. 

Chicago Public Library Foundation

The Summer Learning Challenge is made possible thanks to Wintrust, Helen M. Harrison Foundation, Peoples Gas, PNC, Macy’s Gives, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Boeing, Walter E. Heller Foundation, The James & Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation, Northern Trust, Dr. Scholl Foundation, Cubs Care, A McCormick Foundation Fund, Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation, Westinghouse Electric Company, and individual donors to the Chicago Public Library Foundation.