Take a summer reading challenge!

Summer is a great time to head outside to play, but kids also need some downtime, too. What better way than to have them curl up with a book? Studies indicate that students who read six or more books over their school vacation can prevent summer “brain drain” and even make gains in their reading levels, according to the Free Library of Philadelphia

The Free Library kicked off its annual Summer Reading program this week with the Summer Reading Challenge. The challenge? For Philadelphians — from kids to adults — to read a combined 30 million minutes between June 16 and August 8.

The summer reading program combines books and reading with special events and activities for students of all ages. This flagship Library program supports literacy in Philadelphia by encouraging more than 50,000 children, teens, and adults to read and participate in Library programming during the summer months. A list of summer events at all Philadelphia Free Library branches is available here.

While at the library, how can you help your child find a book that fits his or her reading level? James Kim, assistant professor of education at Harvard University, talks about using the five finger rule. Ask a child to read 100 words from a book and teach the child to raise one finger for each word that is too hard to figure out. If the child has more than five fingers up, the book is probably too hard.  He also says it’s important for kids to choose books that interest them.

When children get help choosing books at the appropriate skill level and read those books over the summer, reading achievement scores can improve significantly, said Kim.

When it’s a rainy day, don’t forget the library is a good place to go and take time to find out about what programs your library offers to you and your kids.

Here other library systems in our region and their kids' programming for the summer:

Chester County Library System

Delaware County Library System

Montgomery County Library & Information Network Consortium


Have a question for the Healthy Kids panel? Ask it here. Read more from the Healthy Kids blog »