Chicago Public Library Launches “Take 20, Read Plenty” Campaign

Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon was joined by Chicago’s First Lady Amy Rule and Dr. Dana Suskin today at CPL’s Lozano Branch to launch the “Take 20, Read Plenty” public awareness campaign to promote the importance of reading 20 minutes a day to children ages 0-5.

Ms. Rule read to a group of students from El Hogar del Ninos preschool near the Lozano Branch, to model the Take 20 Read Plenty fundamentals of reading 20 minutes a day to a child. The “Take 20, Read Plenty” campaign asks participants to take a pledge to read at least 20 minutes a day to a child.

“We’re so grateful to Amy for taking the pledge today, and for helping us promote Take 20 Read Plenty,” Commissioner Brian Bannon said. “One of our strategic priorities at CPL is to nurture learning for children ages 0-5. We want to close the 30 million word gap, encourage literacy and most importantly promote the importance of reading at least 20 minutes a day with children.”

Research indicates that children are equipped with 100 billion neurons at birth, but pathways between the neurons are not yet established. Reading to children aids in strengthening those connections. Moreover, the number of words a child is exposed to between the ages of zero and three are strong predictors of educational success and eventual economic stability. Seminal research shows there is a thirty million word gap between families of lower and higher socioeconomic statuses, so children living in poverty tend to fall behind faster in their development and in school. Children need to hear at least 1,000 stories read aloud before they can learn to read themselves.

Chicago Public Library is working to improve the existing word gap and make sure children ages 0-5 hear at least 1,000 stories read aloud with their Take 20, Read Plenty campaign. Each CPL location will have a reading nook in order to both model the practice of reading aloud and to provide an atmosphere conducive to reading aloud within the library.

This campaign is part of CPL’s ongoing mission to nurture learning, CPL’s Rahm’s Readers programming and the overall early learning strategy of the City of Chicago. This work will also be highlighted in Reach Out and Read-Illinois clinics and through Chicago Public Library’s ongoing partnership with American Academy of Pediatrics – Reach Out and Read and the 30 Million Word project.

To take the pledge, visit any CPL location and sign the Take 20, Read Plenty poster, wear the Take 20 buttons or visit Participants can also take the pledge by posting on social media with the hashtag #IPledge20.