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Read to Win

Read to Win

Published: 04/15/2014 by Nicholle Plante, Children and Family Librarian with Calgary Public Library 

» Parents and Education

Looking for a free activity that fosters creativity, imagination, and improves learning retention over the summer months? How about a program that supports early literacy and language development in young children? The TD Summer Reading Club, a joint initiative with Library and Archives Canada, starts June 21 at all Calgary Public Library branches. 


This year’s theme is Eureka!, which encourages children to develop their readings skills while imagining, experimenting, discovering and creating. A variety of literacy, science and technology programs will also be offered at many Library locations to inspire young “makers” across the city. 


Learning Loss Prevention 

Studies on summer reading reveal that if learning opportunities are put on hold until the school year starts in the fall, significant learning loss, up to an entire grade level, can occur over the course of one summer.1  This can cumulate to two grade levels by the end of grade 6.2  This is a particular issue for children from low-income families, who experience more difficulty in providing their children with affordable, quality educational activities throughout the summer.

By reading over the summer, children not only maintain their reading levels but also foster positive changes in
attitude towards reading. For example, teachers in a three year study by the Dominican University reported “students who participated in summer reading programs entered the following school year with a positive attitude about reading, were more confident in the classroom, read beyond what was required, and perceived reading as important…and were more motivated to read.


Public libraries are in a great position to support summer reading by providing access to a wide range of materials that are appealing to children of all reading levels and interests. This includes magazines, graphic novels, audio books, and non-fiction, which can be great choices for reluctant readers. 


Summer reading programs encourage children to self-select books that interest them, which is an important motivator in encouraging reading for pleasure as “eight out of ten studies indicate students who read recreationally out-performed those who don’t. Students read more when they can choose materials based on their own interests.”5 Staff at public libraries can also use their expertise to assist children in finding books that they enjoy. 


TD Summer Reading Club 

This year’s TD Summer Reading Club will begin with a kickoff at all Calgary Public Library locations on June 21, where  children can register and pick up books for their first weeks’ reading at the same time.  Each participant will receive an activity book specific to their age (preschool or school age), a reading log, and their week one ballot. 


Weekly book prize draws will be held at each branch, where winners can pick a favorite from the wide selection available. To enter, participants must read the specified amount on the ballot, and drop off their ballots at any branch. Once all the weeks’ ballots are completed and returned, they will be entered into the grand prize draw. 


This year’s grand prize is top secret, but will be announced closer to the kick-off date. Previous year’s grand prizes include a bike, family passes to the Calgary Zoo, Lego sets, an explorer prize pack, and more! 


What Can Children Read? 

Anything, including: comics, magazines, novels, audio books, online stories and articles, and so on. The only requirement is to read (or listen to stories). Participants in the preschool component can complete their ballots by having parents read to them. There are great reading lists available from TD Summer Reading Club, as well as the Calgary Public Library Kids section of the website. 



1, 4 Fiore, C., & Roman, S. (2010). Summer Reading Programs Boost Student Achievement, Study Says. School Library Journal, 56, 11, 26-29. 

2,3,5 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction & Evers, T. (n.d.). Why Public Library Summer Reading Programs Are Important. Available from http:// pld.dpi.wi.gov/files/pld/pdf/slp-points.pdf 

McCue, T.J. (2011, Oct. 26). Moving the Economy: The Future of the Maker Movement. Retrieved from www. forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2011/10/26/moving-theeconomy-the-future-of-the-maker-movement/ 

TD Summer Reading Club website: http:// tdsummerreadingclub.ca/
Library and Archives Canada (2006). Literature Review on the Impact of Summer Reading Clubs. Available from http://www.collectionscanada. gc.ca/obj/009003/f2/009003-06-040-e.pdf 

http://www.calgarypubliclibrary.com/kids/great-books http://tdsummerreadingclub.ca/librarians/ news/2014-booklists-are-here