U46 Elementary Schools Prepare for 2017 Summer Reading Challenge

U-46 Elementary Schools Prepare for 2017 Summer Reading Challenge
Summer reading helps improve, maintain academic performance

ELGIN – Schools may soon be closing for the summer, but elementary principals and teachers are reminding their students to continue opening books. In collaboration with local libraries, the District challenges elementary schools to encourage summer reading through an annual friendly competition that emphasizes the importance of strong literacy skills.


“Just 20 minutes a day can help students maintain their interest and skills in reading,” said U-46 CEO Tony Sanders. “Books help expand our perspectives, transport us to faraway places, and inspire us to become better people.”


Summer reading can help students maintain or improve academic performance and avoid the dreaded “summer slide,” which refers to students losing up to two months of learning during the summer months. National research has demonstrated that students who participate in summer reading programs score higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year.


Two of the District’s 40 elementary schools will be recognized with a trophy at the end of the Summer Reading Challenge. One trophy will go to the school with the most students who complete the challenge, which Highland Elementary in Elgin has won for the past five consecutive years. The second trophy will go to the school that demonstrates the largest increase over last year in the number of students who complete the challenge. Sycamore Trails Elementary School in Bartlett received the award last summer for most improved participation. Students can visit their local libraries to complete summer reading logs and earn prizes such as t-shirts, books, and even tickets to Legoland and the Field Museum in Chicago.


Elementary principals say they’re eager to take on the reigning champions, the Highland Hounds.


“Our goal is to get students excited about reading during summer vacation; we want them to retain all the wonderful learning they acquired this year,” said Principal Juanita Jimenez of Liberty Elementary School. “We know that once children become readers, their academic performance improves, and they become readers for life.”


Librarians across the District’s 11 communities have been presenting the various summer reading themes to students, and principals have been driving home the message in newsletters and meetings with parents. Liberty, for example, will host a Summer Reading Night at 6:30 p.m. May 18 (tonight) at the school.  The night will include a book swap, a book fair, and a presentation on new books hitting the shelves this summer.


Students should visit their local libraries for a copy of the reading log, information about the reading challenge and how they can earn prizes. Electronic copies of reading logs, links to each library partner and facts about summer reading will also be posted on the District’s website at www.u-46.org. Last year more than 3,000 students competed in the Summer Reading Challenge.


Principal Brian Stark at Coleman Elementary is actively motivating families to participate, and has scheduled reminder phone calls throughout the summer.


“Along with building literacy, summer reading continues the momentum of fostering creativity,” explained Principal Stark. “Summer reading often times will introduce students to a new hobby or interest, and they’ll pursue it when they return to the classroom in the fall.”


Each local public library offers a variation of the Summer Reading Challenge. Below is a chart with each library, its program name and the challenge timeline.






Bartlett Public Library,

800 S. Bartlett Road


Reading by Design


Tuesday, May 30 - Saturday, July 30


Carol Stream Public Library,

616 Hiawatha Drive


Camp Hiawatha



Thursday, June 1 – Sunday, August 13


Gail Borden Public Library,

270 N. Grove Ave., Elgin


Reading is Gigantic


Monday, May 15 - Monday, August 7


Poplar Creek Public Library,

1405 S. Park Ave.,



Reading in Magic


Wednesday, June 7 – Monday, July 31


Summer Reading Challenge Camp, an invite-only elementary-level summer session, will begin Tuesday, June 6 for Gail Borden at the main campus and the Rakow Branch. The Poplar Creek Public Library’s Challenge Camp begins Wednesday, June 7 and Bartlett Public Library’s camp begins Friday, June 9. Both school and library officials believe the camp, slated to serve more than 1,000 students, will increase summer reading and participation in the Summer Reading Challenge.


In coordination with our public libraries, we encourage students to continue reading throughout the summer,” said Literacy K-6 Coordinator Celia Banks. “Research shows summer reading helps students academically and supports future success in college and career. All the same, our ultimate goal is to create a lifelong love of reading for our students.”