Thanks for a colorful summer of learning & joy!

Thanks to all who participated in a joyful summer of creative learning with your public library!

This summer’s reading program, Reading Colors Your World, was about so much more than reading, says Elementary School Services Librarian Genevieve Grove.

“It was about experiential learning, getting kids physically moving and out exploring in nature, and having fun with science, mindfulness, and different kinds of movement,” Grove says.

“For kids who struggled through a Zoom-based school year, we wanted to rekindle the joy in learning, across all kinds of subjects.”

Teachers and students work on projects at table
Elementary School Services Librarian Genevieve Grove visited Holmes Elementary in June to share summer reading activities and beads

Less pressure, more joy!

Overwhelmed and burned-out parents also deserved some joyor at least less pressure to do all the things, adds Jennifer Norborg, Manager of Children’s Services.

“We wanted to make this summer’s program something that was not a chore, not just one more thing you have to do. It wasn’t a test or something you have to pass. It was just taking care of yourself and having fun.”

“Thank you for this challenge and all the work you all put into it—both in planning and execution. My four year old fell deeply in love with her first summer reading experience and is overjoyed by the wonderful prizes. ❤️”

erinw0824 via Instagram

‘You don’t have to bark when you do downward dog, but it’s fun!’

Participants—who did not have to live in Oak Park or have an Oak Park library card to join—could choose from 120 activities in six different categories (art, stories, music, nature, body & mind, and science).

For example:

  • Use chalk to spread some colorful joy in your neighborhood.
  • Ask an older person about their memories of being a kid. What kind of things did they like to read?
  • Try some yoga poses or stretches outside on the grass. You don’t have to bark when you do downward dog, but it’s fun!
  • Go on a sensory nature walk and talk or think about what you see, hear, feel and smell. Count how many animals you see. Observe a bug for a few minutes. What do you think it is doing? Which flower smells the best? Which tree bark has the most interesting texture?

Families logged their activities and earned badges and beads online through the Beanstack platform. All together, participants completed over 20,000 activities and logged over 932,000 minutes of reading!

‘It felt amazing to reward so many kids for so much creative learning’

Hannah is bursting with pride after she combined several necklaces into one glorious display of reading achievements.

For each category, kids who completed at least five of the activities received a pouch of beads. And those who finished five activities in all six categories received a special bead for their accomplishment.

Participants who logged 10 hours or 20 hours of reading also got additional beads.

Over the summer, more than 1,100 kids ages 3 through rising ninth graders were active participants. Together, they earned 46,110 beads as prizes!

“After the year they had, it felt amazing to reward so many kids for so much creative learning,” says Elementary School Services Librarian Genevieve Grove. 

Your creativity, in photos

Thanks to all who submitted photos of themselves and their creations!

“Thank you all for being a vital part of our library this summer,” Grove says. “We can’t wait to celebrate books and learning with you again soon.”