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June 27, 2022
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JP O'Hare

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2022 Summer Reading Program Provides Children and Families “Oceans of Possibilities” for Summer Fun and Learning

State Education Department and State Library Encourage Summer Reading to Reinforce Continuity of Learning and Help Reduce Summer Slide 

The New York State Education Department and New York State Library are again partnering with 1,100 public libraries and neighborhood branches statewide to launch the 2022 Summer Reading at New York Libraries program, Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced today. This year’s slogan, “Oceans of Possibilities,” is meant to connect students of all ages to the theme of oceanography and water resources. New York’s public libraries will host exciting activities, events, and fun and enriching programs like reading challenges throughout the summer.

Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said, “Improving access to reading and exposure to educational opportunities in the summer is vital to keeping students engaged in learning and helps them develop reading proficiency. These safe, creative, and stimulating summer programs can open the door for families to discover how much local libraries have to offer.”

Commissioner Rosa said, “Our libraries offer free, fun, and enriching reading programs to ensure that the joy of learning does not end with the school year. Children who participate can enhance their reading skills, prevent summer learning loss, and go back to school better prepared for a successful year. I encourage all families to check out what their local libraries are doing this summer and dive into summer reading.”

Research shows summer reading habits can combat summer learning loss and provide a foundation for academic success. Studies found that, on average, students lose two months of grade-level mathematical computation skills over the summer, and low-income students can lose up to two months of reading achievement.

In addition to program support and resources, the State Library provides a fun online app called READsquared. Using the app, students and families can track their favorite books and activities during the summer and all year. Additionally, kids, teens, and families can visit local public libraries and websites to explore and sign up for summer reading events and programs, register to track recreational reading of books and e-books, and earn prizes and badges. Many libraries also bring summer reading and learning activities to summer school and community sites to reach even more students and families.

This year, the Summer Reading program received $150,000 in funding from the current state budget from the Love Your Library Special Revenue Fund. The money will be allocated by formula to New York State’s 23 public library systems to strengthen and support Summer Reading activities. The Love Your Library program webpage has information about a license plate and tax check-off.

Senate Education Committee Chair Shelley B. Mayer said, “I am proud to support NYSED and NYSL’s annual summer reading program. Continuing to read during the summer months is an excellent way for our students to stretch their imaginations while practicing and reinforcing the skills they learned during the school year. I encourage children and families across the state to take advantage of the wonderful programs their local libraries have to offer and to explore the ‘Ocean of Possibilities’ available to them.”

Senator John Liu, Chair of the Senate New York City Education Committee, said, "New York’s vast network of community libraries offer endless opportunities to discover and enjoy new books and activities outside of the regular school-year curriculum. Through Oceans of Possibilities, students will have access to fun programs and events that will stimulate the imagination and prevent learning loss during the lazy days of summer."

Senator Sean Ryan, Chair of the Senate Libraries Committee, said, “Each year, the Summer Reading Program draws students to our great public libraries and keeps them engaged during summer break. Learning loss during the summer is a real problem for students and educators. That’s why we worked to release $150,000 of funding from the Love Your Library Fund to support this year’s Summer Reading Program – encouraging summer reading is a proven way to ensure our children are well prepared for the upcoming school year and improve educational outcomes.” 

Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, said, "I’m thrilled that NYSL and NYSED’s summer reading program is back and better than ever. It’s wonderful that students have the opportunity to thrive inside and outside of the home following several years of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is really why summer reading is so critical. Reading is a simple, effective way to help children’s and students’ minds stay active and critical, especially when they’re so keen on making up for lost time! It’s more important, now more than ever, to ensure that we foster a love of reading and learning and that they are prepared for the upcoming school year and beyond. This program has helped to foster a lifelong love of reading amongst our kids and encourages them to explore community resources like our local libraries and the programs and services they offer." 

In addition to partnering with local libraries and the State’s 23 public library systems to offer Summer Reading at New York Libraries, the State Education Department and the State Library partner with the School Library Systems Association of New York State,  New York State Senate, and Assembly, Hunger Solutions New York, the New York State Reading Association, the New York Library Association, 4-H, the New York State Museum, and New York Council for the Humanities to bring summer reading to communities throughout the state. Students who are unable to use standard print materials due to a visual, physical, or reading disability obtain summer reading material through the  New York State Talking Book & Braille Library or the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library.

The New York State Library is a program of the State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Further information may be obtained by visiting the Library's website.