More Than 60,000 Children Read 1.5 Million Books As Part of Rahm’s Readers

Summer Reading Program Grows by 2,000 Kids and 100,000 Books

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Library Commissioner Brian Bannon announced today that 60,232 children and young teens read more than 1,505,807 books as part of Rahm’s Readers, the Chicago Public Library’s summer reading program.

“Reading provides children with a window to the world and a door to their imagination, and Rahm’s Readers encourages children and their parents to continue to read new books and revisit old favorites during the summer months,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The Library and summer reading program provide children with a safe, fun activity during the long break between school years while also creating a solid educational foundation for their return to studies in the fall.”

Studies show that children who participate in summer reading programs maintain or improve their reading skills and start school ready to learn. Last summer 58,696 children read more than 1.4 million books as part of the Rahm’s Readers.

“We are very excited that a record number of children participated in the summer reading program,” said Commissioner Bannon. “This year, along with our usual partner organizations, we reached out to new community partners like By The Hand Club for Kids and Reach Out and Read to help encourage children to participate, and as a result, more kids read as part of their summer vacations.”

Children and teens ages 3 to 14 years participated in the Rahm’s Readers by reading and reporting on books of their own choosing, attending programs and earning stickers and prizes each week. All readers and their families were invited to a special Reader’s Night/Day event to celebrate their success.

The theme for the 2012 program was “You Are What You Read,” and in addition to reading, the program encouraged children to eat right, get exercise and keep themselves, their families and the planet fit and healthy.

The Library also started its first fine amnesty program in more than 20 years on Monday, in part to encourage students to return materials and start the school year with a clean record.

“For any students that participated in Rahm’s Readers and forgot to return a book, or just borrowed an item and hasn’t returned it, now is the time to bring it back without paying any late fees,” said Bannon. “Regardless of the reason for not returning an item, students with overdue materials can start fresh and take advantage of the Library and its extensive resources for their studies.”

Presented by the Chicago Public Library and Chicago Public Library Foundation, this year’s program partners include Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Department of Public Health, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, La Rabida Children’s Hospital, Comer Children’s Hospital, CLOCC: Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago’s Children, Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics: Reach Out and Read and the By the Hand Club for Kids, whose students in 16 schools took part in the Library’s Summer Reading program for the first time.

“You Are What You Read” is generously supported by the Chicago Public Library Foundation and a host of sponsors including Cubs Care, Dr. Scholl Foundation, Kraft Foods Foundation, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Foundation, Macy’s Foundation, Helen M. Harrison Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, R.R. Donnelley, ComEd, RPM Advertising, Citidel Foundation, wttw11/98.7 wfmt, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks Charities and the Chicago Sun-Times.