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Beat the Summer Slide and Stay Busy—the Free Library’s Summer Reading Goes Virtual!

Free activities and programming support reading, learning, exploration, and fun for Philly kids all summer long.

If you’re anything like us, three months away from the classroom has made the “summer slide” feel more daunting than ever this year. How can we keep the kids busy this summer and keep the learning going? Enter the Free Library of Philadelphia’s virtual “Summer of Wonder,” with free activities and programming through August 31 that support reading, learning, exploration, and fun for all Philly kids—from babies to high schoolers.


Like everything else this year, the library’s summer reading program is going virtual. The libraries aren’t open yet, so the usual in-person activities, updating your reading passport with your local library, and even physically borrowing books aren’t possible this summer. Instead, kids, teens, and adults can sign up online to follow “Discovery Paths,” collect points and earn badges for Summer of Wonder activities and time spent reading.


When you sign up, you also get access to a Google Drive with weekly themed materials and activities including craft and STEAM activities. You can even print out your Passport, just like you’d keep in the library during previous summers. The Summer of Wonder site also includes School District of Philadelphia’s suggested book lists and reading guides for each age group.


As they have been doing during all quarantine, the Free Library will be doing virtual programming all summer long, from storytimes to crafts to STEM challenges, and so much more. As always, we will highlight many of these activities in our weekly events posts, but be sure to check out the library’s calendar to see everything. In addition to weekly virtual activities, Summer of Wonder provides even more at-home ideas with their Reading Champs Guide.


And while we can’t visit the library and take out books, the library’s online resources are extensive and worth checking out (pun intended). From podcasts to ebooks to movies, these are all free to use with your library card! Get free e-books and audiobooks from Overdrive; stream free movies, TV, music, and audiobooks with Hoopla; enjoy animated, talking picture books with Tumblebooks. Particularly intriguing for our foray into home instruction, Bookflix pairs classic storybooks with related nonfiction books.

Contributing Writer