November 30, 2020

Library brings back Winter Reading Challenge to keep kids reading over break

Grace Ellis to kick off program with virtual author talk on Dec. 2

COLUMBUS—Columbus Metropolitan Library is bringing back for a third year its Winter Reading Challenge, in which students can earn prizes just by reading over break. A twist on CML’s Summer Reading Challenge, Winter Reading Challenge aims to keep reading skills strong when students are out of school over the holidays. From Dec. 1 through Jan. 30, K-12 students can register online at Additionally, K-6 teachers can now enroll their classrooms into the program as well.

This year’s Winter Reading Challenge will be all-virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All 23 CML locations are open for Curbside and Walk-Up services only. Public entry is not permitted.

Grace Ellis, the creator of the Lumberjanes series, will help kick off Winter Reading Challenge with a free virtual author talk on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. Click here to register.

The annual program challenges individual students or classrooms to track their progress as they read for six hours and complete six activities on their digital game boards, at which time they will earn a book they can keep, as well as a bookmark and a mechanical pencil, plus a Raising Cane’s coupon and a Donatos coupon booklet. Examples of game board activities include “Read a cookbook and then make one of the recipes,” “Read a biography and then dress up like the person,” “Create a playlist for a book you read” and many more.

Last winter, the program had nearly 6,900 registrations and more than 2,800 completions.

Studies show that kids who read during out-of-school time maintain reading skills that are critical to future school success. The Third Grade Reading Guarantee in Ohio means many central Ohio third graders could repeat the grade if they don’t pass state proficiency testing.

This year’s Winter Reading Challenge is supported by Battelle, Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, Vorys, Altrusa International of Columbus, Ohio, Ellen and Jim Bachmann, Donatos, Raising Cane’s and Corde Westwater Robinson.

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 Homework 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.