Reluctant Reader Turns the Page

Categories: Summer Learning Challenge

There is something for every learner type in the Summer Learning Challenge.

Summer Learning

Dhara the Explorer

Ten-year-old Dhara has never been one to sit still and read. She is a hands-on learner, preferring to play outside and experiment.  “Dhara’s definitely the explorer in the family,” her mother Jean, shares. Two years ago, Dhara joined her older sister, Miya, in the Summer Learning Challenge. “We just wanted her to grow comfortable with reading,” Jean explains.

Before long, Dhara began enjoying an hour (or two) in the library. “It helps that the Summer Learning Challenge incorporates STEAM-based activities that attract kids who don’t naturally gravitate to reading. There are lots of fun indoor and outdoor activities for kids to participate in that tie back to books. Now, Dhara thinks of reading as an adventure,” Jean shares.

Love of Reading Not Required

The Summer Learning Challenge has become the first summer library program in the country to incorporate STEAM learning activities to a wide audience. In collaboration with the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), Chicago Public Library developed a comprehensive ten-week Guide for every summer explorer who signs up. One of the most popular activities of the summer are Brain Games—cool experiments that make studying science fun!

Various workshops, performances, and challenges take place throughout Chicago Public Library’s 81-branch system including field trips to cultural destinations like the Art Institute, Children’s Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, and more. There is certainly something for every learner in the Summer Learning Challenge—and it’s all free!

Because the program integrates interesting themes with hands-on activities, reading has become a positive experience for the once reluctant reader. Today, Dhara eagerly discusses with her older sister the books that she has finished reading! “The Summer Learning Challenge helped Dhara tremendously when she returned to school. She has developed a habit of reading and is even finding it easier to summarize books. She’s definitely going to be back this year,” Jean shares.

One more upside of joining the Summer Learning Challenge? The sisters have become much closer. They bond over books, favorite library activities, and a shared summer experience. “They discuss characters and chapters of whatever it is they’re reading at the moment. Miya helps Dhara understand some of the more difficult words. Most of the time, we also read with them. I guess you could say that summertime  in the library is a family affair,” Jean says happily.

The Summer Learning Challenge starts on June 24. Sign up at your local branch!

Summer Learning Challenge is an award-winning program that ensures thousands of children like Dhara and Miya have a full summer of learning engagement. In 2018, more than 110,000 kids read 105 minutes over 10 weeks. Research shows that participants of the Summer Learning Challenge show 15% gains in reading and 20% in math. Summer engagement works!

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.

You can support Summer Learning Challenge too! Just $25 funds 4 kids in the Summer Learning Challenge.

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