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 12, 2017—The Free Library of Philadelphia kicked off the 2017 Summer Reading program on Wednesday, June 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the Parkway Central Library. This year’s “Summer of Wonder” is focused on enhancing summer learning, emphasizing engaging and experience-based learning. With a theme of “discover, explore, and read,” the program also highlights the mysteries and detectives celebrated in the Free Library’s current We the Detectives initiative.

The Free Library’s Summer Reading “The Summer of Wonder” program takes place from June 12 through August 4, 2017, 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 Greg Pizzoli, the talented children’s book author and illustrator who designed this year’s Summer Reading artwork, and Anthony Rosado, Wells Fargo Philadelphia Area 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, 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.” 

Children and teens can keep track of their reading progress with a special age-specific Summer Reading Passport that features Discovery Paths, each prompting activities that encourage reading and 21st-century literacies and skills—specifically STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) skills. They can also participate in fun programming at their neighborhood library, including culinary programs and hands-on science experiments. Children can also read one-on-one with Reading Buddies, adults who help boost young learners’ confidence and reading skills. 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 enter raffles and earn badges online for completing fun activities, logging their reading, and submitting book reviews at

The Summer Reading program supports 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. Read by 4th partner organizations throughout the city—including Tree House Books, the Salvation Army, Philadelphia Reads, and Play Streets—are all helping to support learning in their communities. Read by 4th also encourages families to try simple ways to foster summer learning, like asking children to write grocery lists, read a recipe, or play word-search games. For more ideas on how to support summer learning, families should visit

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 Philadelphia sports figures and let them know what they are reading. Students can call 267-60-READS and leave a message for the players with their book reviews.

The Library is especially grateful to presenting sponsors Wells Fargo—which also supports Read by 4th—and Comcast for making Summer Reading possible.  “The Free Library’s annual Summer Reading Program is a vital tool in addressing Philadelphia’s literacy crisis,” said Greg Redden, Wells Fargo’s Greater Philadelphia/Delaware Region President. “For the past two decades, as each school year has winded down, the Free Library of Philadelphia has stepped forward, encouraging children to read as much as possible and offering hands-on activities to make literacy come alive. The Summer Reading Program, and Read by 4th as a whole, are key in giving all Philadelphia’s children the best shot at 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, Elliott-Lewis, Philadelphia City Institute Board of Managers, and Quirk Books. In-kind sponsors include Herr’s Foods Inc., the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Phillies, 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