Summer Literacy: Prioritizing Reading with Tennessee Libraries


Thanks to the availability of reading material, engaging programs, and most importantly, library staff who build strong relationships with children, libraries across Tennessee are offering resources that support all families in developing positive experiences around reading skills and academic success. Students don’t necessarily slide backwards during the summer, but there are certainly opportunities for children to thrive at public libraries!

It’s always a good idea to promote summer library programs as learning opportunities that are available to all children, regardless of socio-economic situation.  These programs keep children engaged when there are no formal lessons being taught; promote reading and literacy; and offer the chance for social-emotional learning. Especially after the pandemic, children need opportunities to learn self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills in a group setting. Summer library programs offer group activities, interactive presentations, and team projects to practice those skills. Libraries also encourage children to read daily, regardless of their level, to support and encourage practices and skills that enhance their literacy and future academic success.

Library summer programs are offered for children of all ages, from babies through high school graduation – and even for adults! Libraries also offer multigenerational programs, where families can learn together. Books are available of course, but libraries offer other ways of supporting literacy, including books on tape or CD, audiobooks through the Libby app, story times for emerging readers, and the READsquared app for tracking reading lists. TN State Library and Archives’  offers support and resources to help in this endeavor.

All Tennessee libraries in the regional system have the option of providing their patrons access to the READsquared app that allows them to track their reading progress, earn badges for reaching goals, participate in other challenges like the Smokey Bear Reading Challenge and 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, and win prizes at their libraries. Patrons can reach out to their public library for more information on signing up.

So, how do families find summer library programs? They look up their local library on the Public Library Directory: reach out to their local library staff. This summer’s theme is Adventure Begins at Your Library, so look for adventures of all kinds to start at your library soon.

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