Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Public Library Release New Study Documenting Benefits of Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon today announced recent analysis by Chapin Hall supporting the benefits of Rahm’s Readers, the city's annual summer reading program which launched on Monday. On average, children participating in the Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge demonstrated 15 percent greater reading gains and 20 percent great math gains over and above their peers who did not participate in the program - and they avoided the summer slide, a documented loss of academic knowledge and skills in children who do not remain engaged in learning and brain stimulating activities.

“Children can lose up to three months of math and science learning during the summer months, and the best way to stop the summer slide is with a good book," Mayor Emanuel said. “So we're putting Chicago's children ahead of the curve by encouraging reading through Rahm’s Readers, and helping them build a personal library at home through our one million books giveaway. There’s no reason not to read this summer.”

Rahm's Readers is a Summer Learning Challenge, 10-week summer program launched Monday and is designed to keep children reading and learning over summer months. The program, which is Chicago Public Library’s largest children’s initiative, provides opportunities for kids to grow and learn while out of school, including STEM programming in partnership with Museum of Science and Industry.

“Summer learning loss—or the ‘summer slide’—is an issue that disproportionately impacts children already at risk for school failure. Our research suggests that Chicago Public Library’s Summer Learning Challenge offers families and students a meaningful and accessible way to narrow that gap and improve academic outcomes,” said Bryan Samuels, Executive Director of Chapin Hall.

The 2016 Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge, which is made possible through private support from Boeing, the James & Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation, and other generous supporters via the Chicago Public Library Foundation, runs from June 20 to September 1. Children will “Explore on the Go,” as they examine modes of travel and transportation in many forms as this year’s theme but, building on the Centennial of Boeing, there will be a special emphasis on airplanes and airplane travel. Through a series of STEM activities created by the Museum of Science and Industry and art challenges created by the Art Institute of Chicago, the Library will promote key concepts of movement, force and motion, gravity and aerodynamics. Hands-on programming with artists, scientists, actors and more help children learn about key concepts of flight and other modes of travel.

As an added component to this year’s program, Chicago Public Library will give away one million books this summer, through partnerships with KPMG and Bernie’s Book Bank. Children ages 0-5 who sign up will receive a new book, donated by KPMG, and children of all ages will receive 12 new or gently-used books from Bernie’s Book Bank, through support from William Blair. KPMG will also raffle books off for children of all ages throughout the summer.

Additionally, CPL will host 20 Community Days in branch libraries where Bernie’s Book Bank will distribute books to children. These events will also feature opportunities for the children to read, share and swap books as well as participate in a wide variety of activities. They will be open to families in the community as well as children who participate in the Summer Learning Challenge at neighboring community organizations including parks, day camps and preschools.

“At Chicago Public Library, we’re able to leverage our unique position of being in every neighborhood of the city to bring the programs, books and learning opportunities right into kids’ homes,” said Commissioner Brian Bannon. “We’re proud that Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge has grown thanks to generous funders and partners, and that we’re offering Chicago kids something worthwhile of national acclaim.”

Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge has garnered recent national attention. Last year, Chicago Public Library won an award from the National Summer Learning Association for summer programming excellence, the first and only public library ever to receive such recognition. At the American Library Association’s annual meeting Friday, CPL will also receive the honor of the John Cotton Dana Award, the highest distinction which the ALA bestows upon a library.

Programs are also held throughout the summer with the Library’s partner agencies as a part of Chicago City of Learning initiative: Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago City of Learning, the Department of Aviation, Chicago Sister Cities International, Bernie’s Book Bank, the Art Institute of Chicago, Emerald City Theatre and the lead partner in this STEM-based summer program, the Museum of Science and Industry.

Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge is funded through additional generous support from Boeing, The James and Madeleine McMullan Foundation, Dr. Scholl Foundation, Helen M. Harris Foundation, United, Walter E. Heller Foundation, Hyatt, Cubs Care, RR Donnelley, Field Foundation of Illinois, PNC Bank, Daniel F. and Ada Rice Foundation, Verizon, KPMG, William Blair and 93.9 MYFM.

Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge continues through September 1. Participants can sign up at their local library branch or find additional information at

About Chicago Public Library:
Since 1873, Chicago Public Library (CPL) 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 received the Social Innovator Award from Chicago Innovation Awards; won a National Medal for Library Services from the Institute for Museum and Library Services; was named the first ever winner of the National Summer Learning Association’s Founder’s Award in recognition of its Summer Learning Challenge; 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, please call (312) 747-4050 or visit