Official website of the State of California

Resources for California

First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and California State Library Launch Five-Week Summer Reading Challenge 

SACRAMENTO — First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom today launched a five-week summer reading challenge designed to keep California’s families learning and engaged by “checking out” their community libraries.

Families are encouraged to sign up for their local libraries’ summer reading programs, track the books they’re reading and share their progress on social media using the hashtag #CASummerReading. The five-week challenge culminates with a Facebook Live storytime with the First Partner on Friday, July 10 at 10:00 a.m.

“With children distance learning for the past few months and many summer activities cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, summer reading is more important than ever,” said First Partner Siebel Newsom. “California’s library summer reading programs are a great way for parents to keep their children engaged, entertained and learning all summer long.”

The First Partner’s Summer Reading Challenge consists of five activities:

  • Week 1: Sign up for your local library’s summer reading program online. California’s libraries have moved summer reading programs online so that families can participate even while social distancing.
  • Week 2: Choose your first book and start reading. For each new book you read, take a picture and tag #CASummerReading. The Newsom family will be choosing books from the Sacramento Public Library’s antiracist reading list, and encourages other families to turn to their public libraries for similar resources.
  • Week 3: Create something to contribute to California COVID Diaries, a community history archive launched last week by the California State Library. Californians of all ages are invited to submit stories, journal entries, poems, artwork, photographs and other forms of expression documenting their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Week 4: Take part in an activity through your local library and join the First Partner’s Facebook Live storytime. All summer, local libraries are hosting online activities from virtual storytimes to craft projects. You can complete this challenge by partaking in one of these activities or watching the First Partner’s Facebook Live storytime on July 10 at 10:00 a.m
  • Week 5: Share your favorite new book and keep reading!

Becoming a stronger reader is the best way for someone to succeed – in school, at work and in life. The best place to find something great to read is at your local library,” said California State Librarian Greg Lucas. “And while every time is a good time to read – it’s even better in the summer.”

Summer reading helps younger children build a solid foundation for literacy and ensures that older children retain what they learned in the previous academic year, preventing learning loss known as “summer slide.”

Studies show that students who participate in summer reading programs have better reading skills at the end of third grade and score higher on standardized tests than students who didn’t participate.