Summer Reading Challenge Calgary Library’s most popular program

The Ultimate Summer Challenge is the Calgary Public Library’s largest program, with nearly 20,000 people signed up annually for the past seven years.

The challenge is to encourage each family member to keep up with their reading habits throughout the summer.

“It could be your family reading at home, it could be your book club, it could be a group of friends sharing titles all summer,” says Melanie Nicholson, director of communications at the Calgary Public Library. “Read as much as you want, read whatever you want, it can be a fiction novel, it can be a comic strip, it can be a graphic novel, it can be an audiobook. It’s really just about developing the habit of reading and have fun while you do it.”

Registration opened on June 1 and the free program runs from July 1 to August 31. Nicholson says it’s easy to sign up and participants are eligible for prizes for all ages, including Calgary Zoo memberships, game prize packages, activity subscriptions, iPads, AirPods and a variety of other items.

“What we’re doing is creating a daily reading habit,” she said. “So once you do that for 62 days, you don’t stop on September 1. It just keeps going and going into the school year and that back-to-school feeling – so that’s really what we’re doing after.”

App for that

Once signed in, there is an app to track daily reading results and see how everyone in the family is progressing.

Organizers say the challenge is an opportunity to develop consistent reading habits.

“Originally one of the reasons for the challenge was to help combat what was known as the summer slump,” Nicholson said. “Where kids have such great momentum, they get to June and then they stopped, everything stopped.

“The (Ultimate Summer) Challenge is a way for people to keep reading, especially for those young people who are just starting out and they don’t lose their momentum over the summer, they can keep that habit, they can keep learning, keep growing, and then they will start in September when they go back to school.”

Vowel sounds

Lindsey Bowns registered her family for the first time. She is a member of the library and regularly checks out books with her six-year-old daughter Maribelle.

“Maribelle worked really hard on her vowels and learning her letters in kindergarten,” she said. “We don’t want to lose that in the summer, but (the challenge is) much more fun than working through textbooks and worksheets.”

Maribelle would like to improve her reading skills and loves books about unicorns and princesses.

“A princess book, what I like about it is that they live happily ever after,” Maribelle said. “I have phonics books, I have textbooks, I love those books to help me learn.”

Bowns was given access to the app to track the family’s readings. Maribelle can also color a map to see her progress and receive stickers to place on it at any library location in Calgary.

“I would love it if she filled out that sticker chart and coloring sheet as much as she wants,” Bowns said. “And to be able to go into Year 1 knowing that we have read so many books and gone on so many imaginative trips over the summer, she will have new topics of conversation with her friends, new vocabulary and her reading practice.” right back to the school year.”

The Ultimate Summer Challenge is presented by the JKL MacLachlan Family Fund and is part of the TD Summer Reading Club, a national program for children in Canadian public libraries.

Read more about the program here.