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 prevent summer learning loss

PHILADELPHIA, June 7, 2018—The Free Library of Philadelphia kicked off the 2018 Summer Reading program on Thursday, June 7 at the Parkway Central Library. With a theme of “discover, explore, and make,” this year’s Summer of Wonder aims to encourage all Philadelphians to read for fun and to explore learning opportunities during the summer months. Studies indicate that students who read six or more books over their school vacation can prevent summer learning loss and even make gains in their reading levels.

The Free Library’s Summer of Wonder program takes place from June 11 through August 3, 2018, combining books and reading with special events and activities for Philadelphians 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.

Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon opened the kickoff, joined by Mayor Jim Kenney and Joseph Kirk, Wells Fargo Executive Vice President and Regional Bank President. Wells Fargo is a presenting sponsor of Summer Reading and has generously supported the program for over 20 years. Other presenting sponsors are Philadelphia City Institute Board of Managers, Comcast, NBC 10, Telemundo, Comcast Spectator, and Kline & Spector. 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 find and read books that excite them, as well as to explore their interests and use their creativity,” 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 dive into some great books and projects.”

Children can keep track of their reading progress with a special age-specific Activity Sheet, and teens can use the Teen Passport to guide their summer reading journey. These materials include prompts that encourage a fusion of reading and hands-on activities. Children and teens can also participate in fun programming at their neighborhood library, including culinary programs and hands-on science experiments. 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 of Wonder 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 Library is also supporting summer learning through the Read and Rise initiative, which works with over 60 summer camps to infuse reading into the camp day. The Summer of Wonder and Read and Rise are both part of the Read by 4th campaign, a citywide effort of over 100 organizations convened and managed by the Free Library that aims to significantly increase the number of students in Philadelphia entering the 4th grade at reading level. Read by 4th partner organizations throughout the city—including Tree House Books and Parks and Recreation—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

The Library is especially grateful to presenting sponsors Philadelphia City Institute Board of Managers,  Wells Fargo—which also supports Read by 4th—Comcast, NBC 10, Telemundo, Comcast Spectator, and Kline & Spector for making Summer Reading possible.  “Our company is proud to serve as a leading supporter for the summer reading program over the past 20 years," said Wells Fargo's Joseph Kirk. "This program, coupled with impactful efforts like the Read by 4th campaign, plays a critical role in enhancing literacy rates for children across the region.”

In addition to the co-presenting sponsors, Summer of Wonder is made possible by BB&T, Brodart, Elliott-Lewis, and Osage Partners. In-kind sponsors include Philadelphia Phillies, Herr’s®, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the City of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, and Read by 4th.

For more information and to sign up for the Summer of Wonder, 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