Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Library Announce Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Library (CPL) announced the 2018 theme for Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge is Earth Explorers. Starting June 18, Rahm’s Readers will challenge Chicago’s kids to investigate earth systems science, environmental literacy and climate resiliency.

“This year, Earth Explorers will not only encourage students to continue reading and learning in the summer months, kids across the city will be engaged in helping address environmental issues that affect our city and our entire world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The heath and future of the Earth is an issue we should all tackle together, and I am proud that Chicago’s youth will be part of the solution this summer.”

CPL and the City of Chicago are teaming up with the city’s great cultural institutions including the Museum of Science and Industry, Art Institute of Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Shedd Aquarium to challenge children to read 20 minutes a day and participate in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities. Families can sign-up at their local branch beginning June 18 and participate in the program through September 1. To see a list of events, programs and at-home activities, visit All 80 CPL branches will participate.

“We are excited to strengthen our partnerships with Chicago’s outstanding cultural institutions this year,” said Commissioner Brian Bannon. “These partnerships build on the support from the city and the Chicago Public Library Foundation to support our dedicated staff and innovative programming in all 80 branches citywide to prevent summer slide and encourage children to explore their environment.”

Rahm’s Readers was designed to prevent the “summer slide” where children can lose up to three months of math and science learning during summer months if they do not remain engaged in learning. Through CPL’s strategic partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry, the Summer Learning Challenge embeds STEAM programming as a vital track of learning in the summer months. This summer’s Earth Explorers theme will highlight ways in which Chicago children can learn about environmental issues and how to be strong global citizens. Participants will engage in various critical thinking, creation and design activities to encourage creativity, problem solving and persistence.

CPL Teen Services will offer Imagine Doing More, a summer program challenging teens to think about how they can positively impact the quality of their Chicago environment, from June 1 to September 1, by investigating, learning and creating an action plan. This self-directed summer program also invites teens to participate in Partner Challenges with Adler Planetarium, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Environmental Law & Policy Center. This program is supported by BMO Harris Bank, Allstate, The Chicago Community Trust, Susan Crown Exchange, and Oppenheimer Family Foundation.

Imagine Doing More runs from June 1 to September 1. To learn more about self-direct activity guides, events and more, visit

An analysis by Chapin Hall at University of Chicago showed that children participating in the Library's Summer Learning Challenge demonstrated 15 percent greater reading gains and 20 percent great math gains when compared to their peers who did not participate in the program.

The 2018 Summer Learning Challenge is made possible in great part by Lead Corporate Sponsor Wintrust; the Helen M. Harrison Foundation; the Walter E. Heller Foundation; Peoples Gas; PNC Bank; Macy’s; Paul M. Angell Foundation; Boeing; Cubs Care; a McCormick Foundation Fund; Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation; Westinghouse Electric Company; and other generous donors to the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

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 To follow CPL on social media, visit us on Twitter (@chipublib) or Facebook (Chicago Public Library).

About Chicago Public Library Foundation

The Chicago Public Library Foundation was founded in 1986 as a true public/private partnership with the City of Chicago to ensure the margin of excellence for Chicago’s outstanding Library. Through the support of many civic-minded individuals, corporations and foundations, the Foundation provides on-going funding for collections and a range of community-responsive programs, including Teacher in the Library, CyberNavigators, YOUmedia and One Book, One Chicago. Over the past 30 years, the Foundation has raised $85 million in support for the Chicago Public Library. For more information, visit or call (312) 201-9830.