August 5, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Announces Rahm’s Readers Early Literacy Component Far Exceeds Goal of 100,000 Books Read By Chicago Families

Rahm’s Readers for the First Time Ever Introduced An Early Literacy Component For Early Readers Ages 0-5 Years; Sparks Partnership with Illinois Chapter of Reach Out and Read Program

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Library Commissioner Brian Bannon, CEO of Lurie Children’s Hospital Patrick Magoon, and Dr. Mariana Glusman of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Reach Out and Read program to announce that parents and Chicago’s early readers (ages 0 – 5) have exceeded the goal of 100,000 books read less than a month into the Summer Learning Challenge.

“With the expansion of our Summer Learning Challenge to include early readers and by partnering with the Reach Out and Read Program, we are encouraging families to read together and offering more ways to ensure that all of Chicago’s children are prepared academically for a successful future,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The success of the Early Literacy Component of Rahm’s Readers is in large part due to the groundbreaking partnership established between the Chicago Public Library and the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Reach Out and Read program.

“Over the past 12 years, Lurie Children’s Pediatrics – Uptown has partnered with Reach Out and Read to promote early childhood literacy and distribute more than 15,000 books. Our goal is to make literacy discussions and book distribution as much a part of pediatric doctor visits as giving shots,” said Mariana Glusman, MD, Attending Physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Under this partnership, 100 Reach Out and Read pediatric clinics around the city are now promoting Rahm’s Readers, prescribing books and encouraging families to read together. As part of routine visits, pediatric clinic staff logs the number of books read by parents to their children ages 0-5. This is only the beginning of the partnership between Chicago Public Library and Reach Out and Read, as outreach will expand to include Story Time and other reading activities in more pediatric clinic waiting rooms around the city.

"The expansion of our Summer Learning Challenge to include early readers succeeded beyond our expectations," said Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. "We are so grateful for the rich partnership between the Reach Out and Read program, Chicago Public Library, and the City of Chicago -- which are helping jumpstart literacy and education for the next generation of Chicago citizens."

Meant to encourage critical early learning skills, the Library introduced for the first time an early literacy component for ages 0-5 years as part of the Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge. The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that an important part of brain development occurs within the first few years of life, and reading to young children enhances vocabulary and communication skills. Early readers need to have at least 1,000 stories read aloud to them before they are able to learn to read themselves. Young children are encouraged to read, or be read to, for 20 minutes per day and receive an age-appropriate activity log through the Rahm’s Readers program.

“Lurie Children’s applauds the Mayor and is proud to participate in his Summer Reading Challenge for Chicago’s children. Our physicians at Lurie Children's Pediatrics - Uptown in our Section of Primary Care are a testament to the impact that pediatricians can have on educating families about the importance of early childhood literacy,” said Patrick M. Magoon, President & CEO of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Early childhood education remains a priority for Mayor Emanuel and the City of Chicago. While many early learning programs across the nation are facing cuts, Mayor Emanuel has steadily expanded early learning programming through a $36 million investment in the City’s budget – to increase access to high-quality programs and to raise the quality of early learning programs supporting children under age 5 and their families.
This builds on the Mayor’s expansion of full-day kindergarten across Chicago Public Schools. The Chicago Public Library, American Academy of Pediatrics and the City of Chicago all share the same early literacy goals and are working together to better prepare children for success in school and life.

This accomplishment by Chicago’s early readers and parents contributes to the number of books set forth in the Mayor’s goal for Chicago’s kids and teens to read 2.4 million books during this year’s Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge. Rahm’s Readers is a part of Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago City of Learning, a citywide, year-round initiative that sees all of Chicago as a campus – with endless opportunities to learn new skills, discover passions and build pathways to college and career. Rahm’s Readers is privately funded through the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

Since 1873, the Chicago Public Library has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. CPL recently received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; is a finalist for a National Medal for Library Services from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and was ranked number one in the U.S. and third in the world by an international study of major urban libraries conducted by the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf in Germany. For more information, visit