June 18, 2018

Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Public Library Launch Annual Rahm's Readers Summer Learning Challenge

Earth Explorers will learn about earth systems science and climate resiliency this summer

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Library (CPL) today launched the 2018 Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge. This summer, the Earth Explorers will be challenged to read 20 minutes a day, participate in STEAM activities and investigate earth systems science, environmental literacy and climate resiliency. All CPL branches, in partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), will facilitate the summer challenge.

“In Chicago, we are taking an active role in the global climate change conversation and moving towards a sustainable economy, and we are proud that the city’s youngest residents will be part of the solution as they become Earth Explorers this summer,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Rahm’s Reader’s Summer Learning Challenge will not only encourage students to continue reading and learning; it will engage the future generation of leaders as we continue to address the environmental issues that affect our city and the world.”

This summer’s Earth Explorers theme will highlight ways in which Chicago children can learn about environmental issues and how to be strong global citizens. Among the thousands of interactive programming and events for kids and families throughout the city, students will participate in building terrarium landfills, live trout raising tanks, and play-based learning around the issues of recycling and renewable resources. Programming will also include a range of science experiments, singalongs, story times, in-branch animal visits, concerts and art projects. To see a list of events, programs and at-home activities, visit chipublib.org/summer.

Rahm’s Readers was designed to prevent “summer slide” where children lose up to three months of math and science learning during summer months if they do not remain engaged. Through CPL’s strategic partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry, the Summer Learning Challenge embeds STEAM programming as a vital track of learning in the summer months. Program participants are encouraged to engage in various critical thinking, creation and design activities to encourage creativity, problem solving and persistence.

“We’re able to leverage our unique position of being in every neighborhood of the city to bring the programs, books and learning opportunities that keep children and families engaged and learning over the summer months,” said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “With support from the Chicago Public Library Foundation and our partnerships with some of Chicago’s best civic and cultural institutions, we’re able to help prevent the summer slide for kids throughout Chicago.”

All registered participants ages 0-5 will receive a new book donated by KPMG. Kids ages 6-13 will be able to select 12 free books, courtesy of Bernie’s Book Bank through support from William Blair, at Community Days held at 10 CPL branches across the city. CPL will participate in National Summer Learning Day on July 12 with celebrations in every branch, as well as a special visit from Bryan Collier, illustrator of this year’s official book of Summer Learning Day “Trombone Shorty,” written by Troy Andrews.

CPL will also offer teens a summer program called Imagine Doing More, challenging teens to think about how they can positively impact the quality of their Chicago environment by investigating, learning and creating an action plan. This self-directed summer program also invites teens to participate in Partner Challenges with Adler Planetarium, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Environmental Law & Policy Center. This program is supported by BMO Harris Bank, Allstate, The Chicago Community Trust, Susan Crown Exchange, and Oppenheimer Family Foundation. To learn more about self-direct activity guides, events and more, visit chipublib.org/ImagineAtCPL.

An analysis by Chapin Hall at University of Chicago showed that children participating in the Library's Summer Learning Challenge demonstrated 15 percent greater reading gains and 20 percent greater math gains when compared to their peers who did not participate in the program. In 2017, more than 105,000 children took part in the program.

In 2015, Chicago Public Library was the first-ever winner of National Summer Learning Association’s Founder’s Award for Excellence, in recognition of the revamped Summer Learning Challenge. Due to the program’s success, CPL’s Director of System Wide Children’s Services Elizabeth McChesney co-authored “Summer Matters: Making All Learning Count” (ALA Publications, June 2017), a guide based on the Library’s approach to summer learning with partner institution MSI.

The 2018 Summer Learning Challenge is made possible in great part by Lead Corporate Sponsor Wintrust; the Helen M. Harrison Foundation; the Walter E. Heller Foundation; Peoples Gas; PNC Bank; Macy’s; Paul M. Angell Foundation; Boeing; Cubs Care; a McCormick Foundation Fund; Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation; Westinghouse Electric Company; and other generous donors to the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

The Library is partnering with the city’s great cultural institutions this summer including the Museum of Science and Industry, Art Institute of Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Shedd Aquarium. Additionally, through deepened work with the Chicago Park District, Rahm’s Readers will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics and the role of all children coming together in the City.

About Chicago Public Library
Since 1873, 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; was named the first ever winner of the National Summer Learning Association’s Founder’s Award in recognition of its Summer Learning Challenge; 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. To follow CPL on social media, visit us on Twitter (@chipublib) or Facebook (Chicago Public Library).

About Chicago Public Library Foundation
The Chicago Public Library Foundation was founded in 1986 as a true public/private partnership with the City of Chicago to ensure the margin of excellence for Chicago’s outstanding Library. Through the support of many civic-minded individuals, corporations and foundations, the Foundation provides on-going funding for collections and a range of community-responsive programs, including Teacher in the Library, CyberNavigators, YOUmedia and One Book, One Chicago. For more information, visit cplfoundation.org or call (312) 201-9830.