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Summer Reading Program

The Summer Reading Program, sponsored by the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS), is a cooperative effort among the public libraries in Rhode Island to motivate children and teens to read for pleasure and to help them maintain their reading skills during the summer months.

Facts at a glance

  • All of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns participate in the statewide summer reading program, including:
    • 73 public library buildings (includes branch libraries)
    • Meeting Street School
    • Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport
  • 2010 Statewide Participation and Book Distribution:
    • 13,593 children participated
    • 2,002 teens participated
    • 6,907 free books were distributed to children and teens
    • 16,817 people attended special programs coordinated by OLIS
    • 415 teens volunteered at their local public libraries

Rhode Island's summer reading program is in it's 34rd year. OLIS maintains membership in the Collaborative Summer Library Program on behalf of all Rhode Island public libraries. Through this multi-state cooperative, a program guide and vouchers to be used for materials such as poster, bookmarks, reading records, and certificates are provided to each public library. Funding for the program come from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act.

2011 Themes

Visit the annual Summer Reading Program website.

one world many storiesChildren's Program: "One World, Many Stories"

mystical goat with bookTeen Program: "You Are Here"

watering can Adult Program: "Novel Destinations"

2011 Program Highlights

  • 2nd annual Kids Reading Across Rhode Island family celebration, featuring Grace Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, at Rhode Island's State House. Activities and discussions based on this book will continue all summer at public libraries.
  • 250 educational and entertaining programs, including storytelling, music, hands-on science, magic, art, and dance at public libraries. View our list of performers!
  • Library Night at McCoy Stadium: The Pawtucket Red Sox, Citizen's Bank, and Pepsi sponsor a grand finale to the summer reading program including a parade of readers, a grand prize drawing (one lucky summer reader wins a trip for 4 to Walt Disney World) and the summer reading theme on the scoreboard! Children, ages 6 to 12, enter the contest by meeting the summer reading requirements and filling out an entry form by August 10th at their local public library. The grand prize winner will be randomly selected in a pregame ceremony at McCoy Stadium on Monday, August 22nd.
  • Libraries track reading and participation by children and teens, and report their statistics to OLIS. Libraries in some cities and towns report result to local school librarians and principals.

Each year the program has grown, and funding is sought from a variety of sources. Thanks to our 2011 sponsors:

Museums and recreational venues support the summer reading program with discounts or free entry for children who reach reading goals determined by individual libraries. Thanks to our 2011 partners:

Why Summer Reading?

Research has demonstrated that children need to have access to interesting books on their reading or listening level, read or listen to books regularly, share favorite passages by reading out loud, and talk about what they have read to maintain or improve their reading skills over the summer.

According to two education professors, Richard Allington and Anne McGill Franzen, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, "For young students, reading is a skill that improves with practice. Reading during the summer is critical for children," Allington says. McGill-Franzen adds, "Without practice, reading skills deteriorate. Summer reading helps children maintain their skill level or even make gains."("Take Five for Education: Tips from UT about Children's Summer Reading." Tennessee Today. 27 May 2008. Web. 22 July 2010.)

Rhode Island's public libraries provide access to books on all levels and subjects, and the children's and young adult librarians encourage reading for pleasure through personalized recommendations, creating attractive book displays, and developing fun, educational, free programs.

More about the benefits of summer reading


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