Library to launch all-online Summer Reading Challenge starting May 29

Annual program focuses on keeping reading skills strong over the summer

COLUMBUS—Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) will offer an all-online Summer Reading Challenge beginning Saturday, May 29 and concluding Saturday, July 31.

Summer Reading Challenge is CML’s signature program to keep young readers from losing critical literacy skills during the summer months. Loss of these skills is often referred to as summer slide, and places children at a distinct learning disadvantage once school begins again in August.

“This pandemic has deeply impacted our young minds and their ability to learn,” said CML Public Services Director Kathy Shahbodaghi. “Helping them get back on track starts with books and reading. This is especially critical during the out-of-school months.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s 9-week program will once again be offered with several modifications put in place to ensure the community’s health and safety. Changes include:

  • The program will be online only through and with the free READsquared app (available on iOS and Android devices). Customers of all ages can use the app to log in and track activity just like on CML’s website.
  • CML is not currently offering any in-person programs at its 23 locations. CML will instead offer a calendar of free virtual events.
  • The VolunTeen program, which enables 12-17-year-olds to help with customer sign-ups and programs, has been canceled.
  • CML will mail participants a Game Board with activities and a free book while supplies last. Participants will complete reading goals to be entered into raffle drawings for gift cards and other prizes along the way. A raffle at the end of the program includes kids’ bikes, helmets and locks for the 5-11 age group.

Customers of all ages can log in starting Saturday, May 29.

Summer Reading Challenge is supported by: Battelle, CollegeAdvantage, Kiwanis Club of Columbus, Giant Eagle, ABC 6, FOX 28, CW Columbus, The Columbus Dispatch, iHeart Media, Lamar, Columbus EWI and Clarkson Eyecare.

Visit CML’s frequently updated COVID-19 Coronavirus Response web page for FAQs about library services, as well as information on resources such as foodbanks, internet service providers, volunteer opportunities, home learning options for the whole family and much more.

Columbus Metropolitan Library has served the people of Franklin County, Ohio since 1873. With its Main Library and 22 branches, CML is well known for signature services and programs like School Help, Reading Buddies, Summer Reading Challenge and Ready for Kindergarten. The library’s Strategic Plan supports the vision of “a thriving community where wisdom prevails,” which positions CML to respond to areas of urgent need: kids unprepared for kindergarten, third grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, college and career readiness and employment resources.


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