Chicago Students Are Encouraged to Keep Learning with Chicago Public Library During Winter Break

Research indicates that students lose skills when school is not in session. Chicago Public Library wants to help children and teens continue building their literacy skills, as well as enhance their critical thinking and creativity during the out of school time of winter break by offering the Winter Learning Challenge: Blast Off!, and Teen Winter Challenge: Book Cover Contest.

“The Winter Learning Challenge and Teen Winter Challenge keep Chicago students actively engaged in reading and creative opportunities even while outside of the classroom,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “By offering stimulating educational and creative avenues for children and teenagers, like Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge, the Winter Learning Challenge and Teen Winter Challenge, the Chicago Public Library is continuing Chicago’s commitment to the importance of lifelong learning.”

“Nurturing learning is a key initiative of Chicago Public Library’s Strategic Plan,” said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “The Library is committed to providing access to a variety of programs and services that advance learning to all of its patrons including families with young children, school-aged children, teens, adults and seniors. The Winter Learning Challenge, Teen Winter Challenge and Summer Learning Challenge expand the Library’s year-long family literacy programs.”

The Winter Learning Challenge is generously funded by The Brinson Foundation through the Chicago Public Library Foundation. Funding support for the Teen Winter Challenge is also provided through the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

Winter Learning Challenge: Blast Off!

Open for children up to 14 years old, the Winter Learning Challenge: Blast Off! encourages students to learn about objects in the night sky through a fun and engaging self-paced learning challenge available on the Library’s website from December 15, 2014, through January 5, 2015. The two-week winter break is an optimal time to explore all the Library has to offer and to continue learning with the Winter Learning Challenge.

Participation is easy. Following the theme “Blast Off!” kids are invited to think and learn about objects in the night sky—the moon, planets, stars and more! Then participants complete the activities log, using the suggested Read, Discover and Create activities listed or enter their own theme-related activities. Activities logs are available on the Library’s website or at all Chicago Public Library locations. To see a list of books, online resources and other activities, visit the Winter Learning Challenge page on

Suggested activities include reading a book, magazine or website for 20 minutes a day for at least five days, discovering new information about the night sky by doing an activity, and creating at least one story, a piece of art or design challenge inspired by the theme “Blast Off!” All entrants who return a completed log to a library branch by the end of the Winter Learning Challenge will receive a free book.

Teen Winter Challenge: Book Cover Contest

Judge a book by its cover for the chance to win prizes! From December 15, 2014 to January 5, 2015, Chicago Public Library is asking teenagers, ages 14 to 18, to redesign a book cover that doesn’t tell the whole story. Teens can use their favorite book, or select a random title from their local branch of the Chicago Public Library. Create a new cover image by using the artistic medium of their choice including photography, graphic design, collage, etc.

All design entries must be submitted, with your name, telephone number and the name of your local branch library to between Dec. 15 and Jan. 5. All submissions will be entered into a raffle for three handheld video cameras and three tangling drawing kits.

Some additional guidelines include:

  • One entry per person.
  • A book cover design should include the title of the book and the name of the author.
  • All entries will be weighted equally in the raffle (not merit-based).

If children and teens need help with the Winter Learning Challenge and Teen Winter Challenge, they are encouraged to ask a librarian at their local Chicago Public Library branch.

Since 1873, the Chicago Public Library has encouraged lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through innovative services and programs, as well as cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. CPL recently received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; won a National Medal for Library Services from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and was ranked number one in the U.S. and third in the world by an international study of major urban libraries conducted by the Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf in Germany. For more information, visit or call the Chicago Public Library’s Marketing & Communications Department at (312) 747-4050.