April 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Chicago Kids Read a Record 1.5 Million Books as Part of Rahm’s Readers Summer Reading Program

Some 60,232 Chicago kids read more than 1.5 million books this summer, thanks to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s  Rahm’s Readers, the Chicago Public Library’s summer reading program.

“Reading provides children with a window to the world and a door to their imagination, and Rahm’s Readers encourages children and their parents to continue to read new books and revisit old favorites during the summer months,” said Emanuel.

Studies show that children who participate in summer reading programs maintain or improve their reading skills and start school ready to learn. Last summer 58,696 children read more than 1.4 million books as part of the Rahm’s Readers.

“We are very excited that a record number of children participated in the summer reading program,” said Chicago Library Commissioner Brian Bannon, explaining that this year, the library reached out to new community partners such as By The Hand Club for Kids and Reach Out and Read to help encourage kids and teens to participate.

This year’s theme was “You Are What You Read,” and in addition to reading, the program encouraged children to eat right, exercise, and keep themselves, their families, and the planet healthy. Kids between the ages of three to 14 participated in the Rahm’s Readers by reading and reporting on books that they chose themselves and attending programs and earning stickers and prizes each week.

Picture-book readers and pre-readers who completed 25 pictures books earned a bag for books. Children who read chapter books earned a back-to-school drawstring backpack when they completed 10 chapter books. Weekly book raffles, author visits, performers and presenters were just some of the activities that were featured throughout the summer to help motivate kids to read for fun. All readers and their families were invited to a special Reader’s Night/Day event to celebrate their success.

The Chicago Public Library on August 20 also kicked off its first fine amnesty program in more than 20 years,  in part to encourage students to return books and any multimedia,  and start the school year with a clean record. “For any students that participated in Rahm’s Readers and forgot to return a book, or just borrowed an item and hasn’t returned it, now is the time to bring it back without paying any late fees,” said Bannon.  “Regardless of the reason for not returning an item, students with overdue materials can start fresh and take advantage of the library and its extensive resources for their studies.”

There will be no late fees on any overdue books, CDs, DVDs, and other materials returned between August 20 and September 7, regardless of how long ago they were checked out. Also, there are no additional fines for patrons who pay replacement costs for lost items.

Empowering Teens: Fostering the Next Generation of Advocates
Teens want to make a difference and become advocates for the things they care about. Librarians working with young people are in a unique position to help them make an impact on their communities and schools. Ignite your thinking and fuel these efforts at your library through this Library Journal online course—April 24 & May 8.