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The New York Public Library Challenges Kids and Parents To Read 20 Minutes A Day This Summer

New York, NY – In an effort to combat “summer slide” and keep kids and teens thinking over break, The New York Public Library has issued a challenge to all families: read for 20 minutes each day this summer.

The Library’s annual Summer Reading Challenge – themed “Get in the Game: Read” – kicks off at 10 a.m. on June 9 with an all-day block party featuring renowned children’s author and Newbery Award winner Kwame Alexander at the Edenwald Library, 1255 East 233rd Street in the Bronx. Representatives from HSBC, HBO, Sesame Street, and The New York Yankees – all helping to make the program possible – as well as media partner Mommy Poppins will  be in attendance, calling on kids, teens, and parents to spend at least 20 minutes each day – either apart or together – in the company of good books. #Read20 will be the initiative’s hashtag.

“It is incredibly important for kids to read when they’re out of school, not just because it keeps their minds sharp, but because it’s fun and can spark a life-long love of reading,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “So this summer, whether they’re at the beach, in a park, on a plane, or on their couches, we hope all families will meet this challenge and read together for at least 20 minutes – or we hope even longer.”

While anyone can take on this challenge, kids and teens from the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island are encouraged to visit their local New York Public Library branches to formally participate in Summer Reading. Participants receive a calendar so they can mark their 20 minutes, and receive prizes such as flash drives, head phones, bags, pencils, and wallets for reading 20 minutes a day, attending library programs, or checking out books. Branches will host a series of programs for kids and teens throughout the summer. Those who complete the challenge will be able to attend their branch Summer Reading celebrations in August, and are eligible to enter a book review writing contest open through August 1. Winners of that contest will participate in a pre-game on-field ceremony at Yankee Stadium on August 17.

Kids and teens can enter the book review contest at the Library’s Summer Reading site at nypl.org/summerreading, which also offers lists of recommended books for various age groups, reading tips, lists of reading-related events in branches, and more. The Library is also partnering with  leading family activities website Mommy Poppins (mommypoppins.com) on a “Summer Brain Drain Guide” that will support the 20-minute challenge. The guide will include content provided by NYPL and Mommy Poppins.

Last year, 82,351 kids and teens participated in Summer Reading, which helps fight “summer slide,” or the phenomenon of kids forgetting what they learned at school in the long summer months.

“At HSBC, we are aware that an alarming amount of the achievement gap between high and low-income students can be explained by summer learning slide.  We believe that the experts at the New York Public Library has the ability to bring not just the much-needed resources for learning directly to the children in our community, but also introduce them to the life-long love of reading that will truly make a difference.” said Kelly W. Fisher, head of corporate sustainability for HSBC Bank USA.  

“We are extremely proud of our partnership with the New York Public Library and Sesame Street, both of whom are great ambassadors of education and leaders in learning, said Dennis Williams, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, HBO. “The Summer Reading program encourages a love of reading and cultivates a quest for knowledge in children that has limitless possibilities in their lives.”

The New York Public Library’s Summer Reading Program is generously funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York; HSBC Bank USA; New York Yankees Foundation; The Rona Jaffe Foundation; HBO®; New York State Library’s Family Literacy Library Services grant program; Pine Tree Foundation of New York, Inc.; May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc.; anonymous donors, and the continuing major support of the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Family Endowment for Young Audiences.

Media Contact:

Adenike Olanrewaju | adenikeolanrewaju@nypl.org

About The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.  

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