Summer Learning Challenge: Igniting the Imagination | Chicago Public Library Foundation

Summer Learning Challenge: Igniting the Imagination

Categories: Summer Learning Challenge

“Reading is an adventure. You don’t know where books can  take you.” – Carson

Summer Learning

Of Summers and Books

Carson walks into the library, a thick book in hand. “I’ve read 300 pages of The Drowned Cities!” he announces with pride. Just as remarkable is the fact that he has only been reading the book for two weeks. “He is an avid reader,” Irene, Carson’s mom shares. “He goes to the library when he can and checks out three books at a time.”

A library card holder since the age of six, Carson has recently graduated from children’s books to young adult books, which makes the milestone that much more meaningful. “The Summer Learning Challenge expanded his reading choices,” Irene explains. During the summer, both mother and son would visit the Library website and pull up the suggested reading list. “I like how the library curates their books and activities. The variety of the program’s offerings really engaged Carson last year,” Irene comments.

While there are plenty of activities for Carson to choose from in the Summer Learning Challenge, like hands-on STEAM workshops, performances, and field trips, he gravitates to the reading challenges. Carson devoured one book after another, trying different genres that piqued his interest. He was also consistent in reading for at least the recommended 20 minutes a day. “It’s a habit that he still practices today,” Irene quips.

Oh The Places You Will Go

“I’ve always instilled the value of reading in Carson, and the Summer Learning Challenge reinforced it in interesting ways,” Irene shares. “The Library boosted his interest and desire to pick up a book,” she continues. True enough, instead of being glued to the screen, Carson happily reads on his way to and from school. He also loves to read at home during vacations.

The summer program also broadened Carson’s vocabulary. “It encouraged him to look up words he does not understand. I’ve observed that he has become more thoughtful in what he reads,” Irene shares.

“The Summer Learning Challenge made reading easier for me. I can read and understand advanced words like ‘incessant’ or ‘ostentatious.’ I can read more challenging books – books that are beyond my grade level!” he says.

Turning to the precocious young reader, I ask, “Why do you love reading so much?” “Because it fires up my imagination! “When I read a new book, I feel like I’m going on an adventure. I get to meet new people, discover new places, and experience new things,” Carson replies with wide eyes and a full smile. We can’t wait what for your next adventure this summer, young explorer!

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

Carson is one of the thousands of children who benefit from the Summer Learning Challenge. In 2018, 110,000 kids read 105 minutes. More importantly, they achieved 15% gains in reading and 20% gains in math. Summer Learning 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.

Your gift helps children like Carson have a full summer of learning engagement. Just $25 funds 4 kids in the Summer Learning Challenge. Make a donation today. 

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