‘Fun, familiar, safe’: Summer reading goes on

“In a time when a lot has changed for kids, the fact that summer reading is for fun has not.”

—Nora Flynn, parent of a 9-year-old summer reading champ

To keep everyone safe and reading for fun, we’ve gone virtual with this year’s summer reading program. And while it looks different this year, kids and families are still getting the tangible benefits of reading and earning prize beads.

The fun continues all summer—you can still sign up online through August 31, and library staff will continue delivering beads and prizes to keep everyone safe.

Summer reading champs (left to right) Lieve, Ishan, and Adam show off their beads, earned as rewards for reading!

‘The bead delivery was so joyful in our home’

For every hour spent reading, kids have been earning virtual badges and beads to build a necklace or keychain. By the end of July, we’ll have delivered 16,000 beads to homes around Oak Park, and staff will continue to deliver them all summer. If your child has logged more than 5 hours of reading, be sure to watch your email inbox for information on how to set up prize delivery.

“We’re really grateful that [the library] created a way to keep the summer reading program fun and familiar, while also being safe,” said parent Nora Flynn. “The bead delivery was so joyful in our home—thank you!”

Not just books: Kids are doing creative projects & challenges

“Dear Professor Slughorn,

I love watching you when I am at the library for a few minutes. I really miss you. Can you send me a selfie?”

—Ian, summer reading participant
Kids are writing letters to library gerbil Professor Slughorn, drawing pictures, and completing other creative challenges. Left: Professor Slughorn studies Maggie’s drawing about the American Girl Doll Molly. Right: Professor Slughorn fulfills Ian’s request for a selfie.

Professor Slughorn, the library’s pet gerbil, has been living with Librarian Genevieve Grove since March, when library buildings closed.

Kids are staying in touch with him, though, by writing letters and sending drawings, and receiving responses! Like Ian’s request for a gerbil selfie, and Maggie’s picture about Molly, the American Girl Doll she’s read all the books about (pictured).

Roger and Eden’s LEGO library

Other challenges kids are doing include making up silly songs, spelling their names with sand, sticks, grass, and other nature items, and recreating museum artifacts and more out of LEGOs.

Like Roger and Eden, who built a LEGO library, complete with fish tanks and a bookmobile! Their family even started a local Facebook group with daily LEGO challenges that other library patrons may be interested in checking out.

“Thank you for all you guys are doing to stay connected with the community,” their parent wrote to us when sharing photos of their awesome LEGO library (pictured).

Share your photos

Is your child participating in summer reading? Share photos, drawings, and more with us and tell us how it’s going!

‘We are readers!’ Librarians make virtual visits

In past years, our librarians have visited summer school programs, camps, daycares, and parks to spread the word about summer reading, share books and stories, and distribute prize beads.

This summer they’ve continued those visits virtually, meeting kids and teachers where they are. We’re so glad to see these teacher tweets about proud student readers!