June 8, 2015

Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Public Library Kick Off Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge

Program Asks Chicago Kids to Read at Least 20 Minutes a Day This Summer

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Public Library (CPL) Commissioner Brian Bannon and over 500 Chicago preschoolers and kindergarteners at the Museum of Science and Industry to launch the 2015 Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge: Explore and Soar. This year, Chicago Public Library’s Rahm’s Readers program is teaming up with the Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago City of Learning and the Big Shoulder Fund to challenge Chicago’s children to read 20 minutes a day and a total of 70 million minutes this summer. This year’s challenge encourages not only reading, but also exploring and investigating the solar system.

“Children lose up to three months of math and science learning during the summer months,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Rahm’s Readers provides an essential opportunity for kids to stay engaged, stay encouraged and be prepared for success when school resumes in the fall.”

Rahm’s Readers is a free, summer-long learning program designed to keep children and teens engaged in learning over the summer break and work to prevent the “summer slide,” a documented loss of academic knowledge and skills in children who do not take part in such summer activities. Rahm’s Readers provides activities and opportunities for kids to grow and learn; fun programs are held throughout the challenge with the Library’s partner agencies as a part of Chicago City of Learning initiative. Last summer, more than 83,000 young Chicagoans participated in the program, this summer Mayor Emanuel is challenging 5,000 additional children to participate and encouraging an increase of 4 million minutes read over last summer.

This year, Chicago Public Library is taking the challenge to parents and caretakers to participate in the Library’s Take 20, Read Plenty campaign by pledging to read to Chicago’s youngest children for 20 minutes per day. Studies show that early learners need to have at least 1,000 stories read aloud to them before they are able to learn to read and that reading to young children for 20 minutes per day increases vocabulary and strengthens pathways to learning. This summer, all Rahm’s Little Readers participating in the program, ages 0-5, will receive a free book.

“At Chicago Public Library, we are committed to inspiring continuous learning, exploration and growth,” said CPL Commissioner Bannon. “Rahm’s Readers will provide children and families with activities aimed at nurturing learning and building 21st century skills.”

Chicago kids will spend the summer months reading, discovering and creating around the theme of space, space travel, and the solar system in this engaging program. Summer learners can: READ 20 minutes per day; DISCOVER by engaging in a series of hands-on library programs, visiting the Museum of Science and Industry and Adler Planetarium, and CREATE by solving design challenges, creating art, writing stories or poems, or designing and building things to share with others.

A specially designed Rahm’s Readers Explorer Guide ensures that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education skills, critical to the success of 21st century learners, are cultivated during the summer months. Program participants are also encouraged to engage in various critical thinking, creation and design activities to encourage creativity, problem solving and persistence. Kids that complete at least 500 minutes of reading and other learning activities over the summer will receive prizes courtesy of the Chicago Public Library Foundation and will be entered in a raffle to win an eReader.

The early literacy component of the program promotes the American Library Association’s “Every Child Ready to Read 2” practices for parents to grow a healthy reader, including Talk, Sing, Read, Write and Play activities combined into an age-appropriate activity log that parent and child can complete together. This piece is available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Polish. Parents and caregivers who participate and reflect on their family’s learning will be eligible to win a tech package.

The program also features a teen component, Rahm’s Readers Teen Summer Challenge: Defy Gravity, encouraging high-schoolers to deepen their understanding about the solar system and space travel. Teens can participate in activities at YOUmedia locations, share their discoveries and creations on social media with #cpldefygravity and earn prizes, as well as enter an eReader raffle. Information and materials about the Summer Learning Challenge: Explore and Soar, and Teen Summer Challenge: Defy Gravity can be found at all CPL branches and on the Library website at chipublib.org.

Rahm’s Readers is privately funded through the Chicago Public Library Foundation and is sponsored by Boeing, the James & Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation, KPMG, Dr. Scholl Foundation, Helen M. Harrison Foundation, Macy’s, RPM Advertising, RR Donnelley, Peggy & Steve Fossett Foundation, Peoples Gas, Cubs Care and the McCormick Foundation and Motorola Solutions Foundation, through the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

Since 1873, the Chicago Public Library (CPL) 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 received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; won 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, please call 312.747.4050 or visit chipublib.org.