For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


The Library and Read by 4th will work with city partners to spread literacy across the city
and stop the “summer slide”

PHILADELPHIA, June 13, 2016—The Free Library of Philadelphia kicked off the 2016 Summer Reading program on Monday, June 13 at 10:00 a.m. at the Parkway Central Library. This year’s Summer Reading program theme, “The Summer of Wonder,” celebrates all the many things there are to wonder about around our city and in books and features special programming that focuses on a different topic of brain-bending wonder each week.

The Free Library’s Summer Reading “The Summer of Wonder” program takes place from June 13 through August 5, 2016 and combines books and reading with special events and activities for students of all ages. This flagship Library program supports literacy in Philadelphia by encouraging more than 50,000 children, teens, and adults to read and participate in Library programming during the summer months. Studies indicate that students who read six or more books over their school vacation can prevent the “summer slide” and even make gains in their reading levels.

Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon opened the kickoff and was joined by Mayor Jim Kenney, as well as Lauren Castillo, the talented children’s book author and illustrator who designed this year’s Summer Reading artwork, and Greg Redden, Wells Fargo Regional President. Wells Fargo is a presenting sponsor of Summer Reading and has generously supported the program for over 20 years. Other presenting sponsors are Comcast, NBC 10, Telemundo, and Comcast Spectator. In addition to enjoying special story sessions headed by members of the Wells Fargo team, students participated in a craft workshop hosted by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and got excited about reading with a surprise visit from the Phillie Phanatic!

“Summer is a great time for students to explore their interests and develop a love of reading by choosing books that are the most exciting for them,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, Free Library president and director. “I encourage Philadelphians of all ages to enjoy a summer full of wonder at the Free Library as they explore their world and dive into some great books and projects!” 

Students from preschool through sixth grade can keep track of their reading progress with a special Summer Reading game board and participate in fun programming, including hands-on science experiments and literacy-based craft workshops. In addition, the Free Library is excited to offer special Summer Reading programming for teens, including gaming tournaments and teen book clubs. Summer Reading also welcomes summer camps, preschools, and other groups to participate in the program by scheduling a visit to any Free Library location or requesting a visit from their local librarian.

In addition to the exciting Summer Reading programming taking place throughout the Free Library system, Online Summer Reading runs now through August 31, 2016. Children, teens, and adults can submit book reviews at to have their names entered in online prize raffles held throughout the summer. Additionally, each week a new hands-on activity that children can easily complete at home will be revealed online at

The Summer Reading program is part of Read by 4th, a citywide effort of over 100 organizations convened and managed by the Free Library that aims to majorly increase the number of students in Philadelphia entering the 4th grade at reading level by 2020. In addition to supporting Summer Reading at the Library, the city’s Read by 4th coalition is working with over 100 summer camps to infuse reading into the camp day. Organizations throughout the city—including the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the nonprofit Philadelphia Reads— are all helping to support learning in their communities. Read by 4th also encourages parents to encourage children to use their reading skills this summer during at-home activities like writing grocery lists and reading dinner recipes during cooking.

At the kickoff event, the mayor announced another way children can take their reading to new levels: He offered a special phone number at which children and students can call him and let him know what they are reading. Students can call 267-689-READ (7323) and leave a message for the mayor with their book reviews.

The Library is especially grateful to presenting sponsors Wells Fargo and Comcast for making Summer Reading possible.  “After Philadelphia’s public schools, the Free Library offers more activities for children and teens—free of cost—than any other organization in the city,” said Greg Redden, Wells Fargo’s Greater Philadelphia/Delaware Region President. “The Summer Reading Program, and Read by 4th as a whole, is especially important because it encourages children to read as much as possible while they are outside of the school year’s structured environment. This type of reading has been proven to sustain and improve reading skills in children and teens. Wells Fargo has been proud to offer its support to the Summer Reading Program for over 20 years, and to now support the city’s Read by 4th initiative, because we understand that literacy skills are a prime component of a child’s success in school and in life.”

In addition to co-presenting sponsors Wells Fargo, Comcast, NBC 10, Telemundo, and Comcast Spectator, Summer Reading is made possible by Brodart, CRW Graphics, Elliott-Lewis, Philadelphia City Institute Board of Managers, and UGI. In-kind donors include Chipotle, Herr’s Foods Inc., the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Please Touch Museum, the School Reform Commission, Shake Shack, Thunderbird Lanes, the City of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, and Read by 4th.

For more information and to sign up for the Summer Reading program, visit, call 215-686-5372, or visit your neighborhood library.

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system, with 54 locations and the Rosenbach, advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 25,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi, including neighborhood Hotspots; and rich special collections, including  those at Parkway Central Library and at the Rosenbach. With more than 6 million in-person visits and millions more online annually, the Free Library and the Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850