Libraries in Montgomery Co. host free summer ‘reading challenge’ to help curb learning loss

Keeping young bodies and minds active when school is out for summer can be a challenge. And that challenge is being addressed in Montgomery County, Maryland.

“Reading and family engagement throughout the summer is essential,” said Maranda Schoppert, Early Literacy and Children’s Programming Manager at Montgomery County Public Libraries.

MCPL will launch its 2024 Summer Reading Challenge on June 14, with six kickoff parties across the county, but registration is now. The program will run through Aug. 31.

The year’s theme is “Adventure Starts Here,” and MCPL said it is partnering with the Montgomery County Parks Foundation to encourage readers to explore area parks.

“It allows kids and teens to fill their summer with great books and fun activities,” Schoppert said. “[And] inspire our youth to give back to their community while they’re socializing, playing, and learning all summer long.”

Kids can earn electronic badges and vouchers for a Washington Nationals game. There are also raffle prizes for teens, including a Nintendo Switch. Schoppert said participation in the Summer Reading Challenge increases every year.

“We’re striving to get children to maintain or improve their reading and critical thinking skills throughout those months where they’re not in school,” Schoppert said.

New this year, MCPL is offering an Adult Summer Reading Challenge, with special events like a mocktail party.

Families can join MCPL for free programs all summer, including story times in the park, musical performances, magic shows, movie nights and STEM activities. The library can also provide kids with book recommendations and offers live one-on-one tutoring online. Readers can borrow up to 100 books with a MCPL card.

“We want to help curb that summer learning loss that can happen during the summer,” Schoppert said. “We want to encourage kids to continue to build those good habits that they’re worked so hard to achieve throughout the school year.”

You do not have to be a Montgomery County resident to participate in the reading challenge and summer programs.

More information on MCPL’s 2024 Summer Reading Challenge can be found online.

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Linh Bui

Linh most recently worked at WJZ in Baltimore as a reporter and anchor from 2013-2023 and is now teaching at the University of Maryland. Prior to moving to the D.C. region, Linh worked as a reporter and anchor at stations in Fort Myers, Fla. and Macon, Ga.

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