Summer Fun!


Did you know that June 20 is National Summer Learning Day (NSLD)? NSLD is a day set aside to recognize and raise awareness about the importance of summer learning in helping close the achievement gap for youth, and in supporting healthy development.

To succeed in school and life, children need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. This is especially true during the summer months where engaging learning opportunities can help prevent summer learning loss – a key area of focus for Oakland Reads 2020. Reading for fun is an effective way for students to avoid losing academic ground over the summer months.

Check out this great blog post from our friends at the Oakland Public Library. It presents an opportunity to get kids excited about reading over the summer break, and offers links to other fun and enriching activities. If you are a provider of summer learning in Oakland, you may want to leverage this citywide resource (e.g., perhaps call the library to schedule a field trip?). If you are a parent, we encourage you and your child to join in the fun!

Oakland Public Library’s Summer Reading Challenge

Summer is the perfect time to cultivate reading for fun, and your public library is open! The Summer Reading Challenge is at the heart of children’s services programming for the Oakland Public Library. Last year, over 9,000 children participated, and over 6,000 completed the reading goal and received a book and other prizes. Attendance at our summer programs for children reached nearly 14,000.

Summer Reading is a tried-and-true tactic of public libraries nationwide to combat summer slide—you probably participated in it yourself as a child, receiving some incentive at your public library during the summer to encourage you to read. OPL creates a celebratory and participatory atmosphere around reading for fun. The work of Stephen Krashen and other recent studies support the key role that “free voluntary reading” has in reading success. In the OPL Summer Reading Challenge, any kind of reading counts. Children of any age will get credit for each day they do any reading at all, from June 14th through August 9th. Reading comics, reading for school, reading to a younger sibling, reading to a pet, having someone read to you…it’s all good, as it all contributes to the culture of joyful reading that is essential for reading success.

Readers who achieve 10 days of reading will receive a packet of coupons to various local activities. When readers complete the 20 day reading challenge, they will receive a brand new paperback book of their choice, an embroidered badge indicating that they achieved the Summer Reading Challenge, and a raffle ticket for other prizes. Two city-wide grand prize raffles will be drawn for an iPad (for readers ages 5-14) and a family membership to Fairyland (for readers ages 0-4).

Events throughout the summer are planned to attract and engage young library users and their families, and free lunch is served at many libraries. Lunches are available to anyone under 18 while they last, with no sign in, thanks to a partnership with the City of Oakland Human Resources and the Alameda County Community Food Bank. A Summer Reading Celebration is co-hosted by Oakland Museum of CA on their First Free Friday in August, to congratulate summer readers.

OPL participates actively in the California Library Association’s Outcomes Based Summer Reading planning process, as well as its Summer Matters and Lunch at the Library initiatives. Our Teen Summer Passport program engages young readers transitioning to adults in getting involved with their community. For us, summer is literally an all year endeavor, as one year’s evaluations move straight into the next year’s planning. We can’t make it happen without our dedicated donors and partners, so thank you. And don’t forget: Summer Reading is for grownups too.

Nina Lindsay, Supervising Librarian for Children’s Services
Oakland Public Library

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