Summer Reading

Q&A: Patrons ask; librarians answer: What counts for Summer Reading?

Q. What counts for the Summer Reading Challenge? My kids are 3, 6, and 11 years old. What's expected of them in this game?

A. So, your three kids signed up for the Summer Reading Game, got their reading logs & stickers, picked out some stuff to read, and now you all want to know what really counts, right? Here's what matters about summer reading:

  1. Daily habit    Iron-on badge for the Summer Reading Program

  2. Personal choice   

  3. Any level

  4. Reading OR listening

  5. Library visits

To get the most out of the Summer Reading Program, and to see the beneficial effects in terms of school success and building a lifelong reading habit, these are the five elements that young readers and their families will see reinforced as they are reading over the summer.

Drawing of a calendar to symbolize the Daily Habit of readingDaily habit: Kids get prizes for how many DAYS they read this summer! 10 days = a whole batch of coupons for things to do and eat in & around Oakland. It doesn’t have to be 10 days in a row, but that makes it a fun challenge! 20 days = a free prize book, an iron-on badge, and a raffle ticket. Each additional 10 days is rewarded with an additional raffle ticket. Babies get a sippy cup with the library logo instead of the badge.

Photo of a clock to symbolize ANY amount of time is sufficientIMPORTANT NOTE: Kids put a sticker on the calendar date for any amount of reading they do. We’re aiming for 15 minutes or more, but if that seems like a struggle for your reader, come talk to us! Your Children’s Librarian will find something that is captivating enough that the 15 minutes will fly by! 

Drawing of a heart to symbolize Personal Choice in readingPersonal choice: Yes, read whatever you want! There are no required titles, no leveled lists, no judgment of your choices. Participants may write the titles on their reading logs; that’s just for fun. Everyone can choose whatever pleases them; something new or an old favorite; short or long; fiction or non-fiction; books or magazines or comics; fantasy, mystery, sports, action, adventure, magic, realistic, historical; humor; poetry; biography – anything! 

Any leDrawing of foothills & mountains to symbolize that Any Level reading is greatvel: During the school year, teachers are expecting your kids to read books that range from Just Right to Challenging. In the summer, Vacation reading is good enough! Some readers like to challenge themselves with complex plots and advanced vocabulary & grammar, but some need to relax, recover, and re-kindle their joy in stories or characters. Predictable reading goes quickly and is easy to understand, and therefore builds fluency and comprehension while at the same time feels relaxing and enjoyable. Just right books are best – but focus on the content and delight; if it’s not fun, it won’t be a daily habit.

Drawing of headphones to symbolize that Listening OR Reading are both okayReading OR listening: For this game, kids can read on their own, listen as someone reads aloud to them, or read aloud to someone else. All of it counts! Listening to a recorded book also counts. Hearing a book read aloud helps kids learn vocabulary, improves pronunciation, and increases comprehension, all of which builds fluency. This is true even for kids who already know how to read. Take turns, and treat each other to good read!

Guess what? Adults who sign up for the Adult Summer Reading program get points for reading aloud to a child, so grown-ups can get prizes, too! Not only that, older kids & teens (ages 12 to 18) can get prizes, too!  The Teen Summer Passport program has great ideas for teens, one of which is reading aloud to younger children. 

Drawing of The Library Symbol that shows you where to find the library

Library visits: Most kids come in at least 2 times over the summer – to sign up, and to pick up prizes. However, we love it when kids come in every week to pick out more books to read & movies to watch, or to attend one of our many special programs. When people come to the library often, they get familiar with where things are found and how to get things done, they make friends with our staff, and they learn how to ask for help. We want every young person in Oakland to feel like he or she belongs here. Your taxes (and donations to our Friends groups) pay for the library and our programs – make sure your kids take advantage of it!

So…the Summer Reading Program is a friendly challenge, meant to encourage the habits that will give your child lifelong rewards. I want to tell you more about how important recreational reading is to school success, but there’s a line of children asking for help to find a good book right now…I've got to run. See you soon!

Summer Reading Ends This Saturday!

Sisters ReadingWhat a summer we've had! Together we have read almost 35,000 hours since June 15.

But, wait--that's not all! We have planted seeds in pots we decorated. We have blown bubbles all over Oakland. We have made bracelets and rain sticks. We've planted and eaten vegetables. We have seen performers do magic, blow magical balloons, and take us to magical places through dance. We have met bugs and reptiles and frogs. Puppets have visited us, and we've seen science at its most fun. We have sung and we have danced, and we've seen dogs do both.

Tortoise in the library

Yes, it has been a full summer.

If your child has read for at least eight hours, be sure to log it, either by coming into the branch or by going online to Oakland's Summer Reading page by midnight on August 10. Only reading logged before then will be eligible for our grand prizes - the family membership in Fairyland for children under 5, and the iPad for children 5-14.

If for some reason you cannot log your child's reading by August 10, come by your branch; he or she can still pick up his or her prize.

Swallowing Fire at the Library

Owen Baker-Flynn swallows fire at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library

Growing Readers Gardening Workshops

Have you seen the gardening containers in the front of the Main Library's Children's Room? This summer we have a special series of gardening programs for children on Thursdays. Acta Non Verba; Youth Urban Farm Project is teaching us about soil, seeds, bugs and more. 

In addition to the programming, we also have a new shelf full of gardening books for children. Come to the Main Library Children's Room to both garden and learn about gardening. 

Programs are mostly on Thursdays at 3:00. This week the program will be today (Tuesday) at 3:00. The topic is Weed or Plant? How are weeds and plants different? 

Look at some of the activities! You too could be part of the fun. Come on by!

  

MOCHA at Libraries this Summer

Artists from the Museum of Children's Art (MOCHA) will continue their workshops at eight branches this summer! See below for the schedules. These weekly programs for preschool up to middle school students have been very popular for the past two years. Each week brings a different art project: sculpture, weaving, painting, collage. Children always leave with art in hand.  

Wednesdays 1-2 and 2-3 Main Library, Children's Room

Wednesdays 2-4              81st Avenue Community Branch 

Wednesdays 1-3:30        César Chávez Branch

Wednesdays 2-4              Eastmont Branch

Fridays 1-3                       Elmhurst Branch

Wednesdays 3-5              Golden Gate Branch

Wednesdays 2-4              Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch

Thursdays 3-4:30            West Oakland Branch

Read to Your Baby!

It is never too early to start reading with your baby; she will associate the security and pleasure of your lap with reading and will want to learn to read when she is older. 

  • Read with your baby every day.
  • Try board books. Board books are books with hard pages your baby can throw, bite, and hit.
  • You don’t need to read the words at all. Just point to the pictures and talk about them.
  • Have him flip the pages. Let him play with the book.
  • Comment as you read. Connect what you read to what's happening in her life.   
  • Keep their board books in the same place as toys.
  • Let your child see you reading for yourself and enjoying it.
  • Come to the library often! Find new books and come to storytime.  

Reading is Soooooooo Delicious

Join 10,000 Oakland children as they eat, er, read their way through the summer. We'll have prizes, entertainment, crafts programs, free lunches, and even books! The fun begins Saturday, June 15 with celebrations at libraries throughout Oakland and ends August 10. 

Children have fun keeping track of stickers and watching performers, but parents know that they are helping their child avoid "Summer Reading Slide" by encouraging reading for pleasure. Children who complete eight hours of reading will choose a book to keep, receive coupons for local attractions, and be entered in a raffle for even more prizes.   

This summer we will host performers: The Bubble LadyBuki the ClownChiquy Boom! , Busy Bee DogsDan Chan the Magic ManDance Arts of IndiaEast Bay Vivarium, SaveNature.org (Insect Discovery Lab and Edible EdVentures), Magical Moonshine TheatreMr. Shap, the Oakland Zoo MobileOwen Baker-Flynn, and last, but not least XTreme Science Magic. Check our events listings, or ask your library for details.

Free lunches for children ages 0-18 will be provided at eleven branches. The Main Library will serve lunches Monday-Friday; the branches Tuesday-Friday. Call your branch for meal times. Participating locations are: Main Library81st Avenue CommunityCésar ChávezDimondEastmontElmhurstGolden GateMartin Luther King, Jr.MelroseTemescal, and West Oakland.

 Stay tuned or go to our summer reading site for the most up-to-date information and instructions for playing the game.

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Major funders: Friends of the Oakland Public Library, Fentons Creamery, William G. Gilmore Foundation, Union Pacific Foundation, and The Bernard Osher Foundation.

Donors: Alameda/Oakland Ferry Services, Chabot Space & Science Center, Children’s Creativity Museum, Children’s Fairyland, Grand Lake Theater, Hometown Buffet, Lake Merritt Boathouse, Lawrence Hall of Science, MOCHA, Oakland A’s, Oakland Ice Center, Oakland Museum of California, and Pasta Pomodoro .

Free lunch is offered in partnership with the Alameda County Community Food Bankd and City of Oakland Department of Human Services.