Online Toolkit to Expand Summer Learning

* NOTE: In the coming months, ALA Editions will publish a book focused on Chicago Public Library’s (CPL) award-winning Summer Learning Challenge that will include a comprehensive set of program planning and implementation tools. Tools shared by CPL (marked with an asterisk below) are named but not linked in ULC’s Online Toolkit to Expand Library Summer Learning.


  1. Urban Libraries Council (ULC) homepage
  2. National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) homepage
  3. Accelerate Summer website
  4. Institute of Museum and Library Services homepage

I. Making the Case for Library Summer Learning

  1. Johns Hopkins University Study: Alexander, Karl L., Doris R. Entwisle, and Linda Steffel Olson. “Lasting consequences of the summer learning gap.” American Sociological Review 72, no. 2 (2007): 167-180. doi:10.1177/000312240707200202
  2. Study by the Rand Corporation: McCombs, Jennifer S., Catherine H. Augustine, Heather L. Schwartz, Susan J. Bodilly, Brian McInnis, Dahlia S. Lichter, and Amanda B. Cross, Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2011).
  3. NSLA Summer Slide Infographic
  4. Photo – infographic posted at Chicago Public Library
  5. Campaign for Grade-Level Reading homepage: and Summer Learning Loss webpage
  6. Horizons National Summer Learning video and homepage:
  7. Urban Libraries Council. Leadership Brief: Partners for Education.
  8. Urban Libraries Council. Leadership Brief: Libraries Expanding Summer Opportunities
  9. Young Adult Library Association homepage and position paper: Adopting A Summer Learning Approach for Increased Impact

II. Library Summer Learning Models that Expand Opportunities

Summer Reading PLUS

Saint Paul Public Library

  1. Summer Spark! webpage:
  2. Summer Spark! Activity Log

Ottawa Public Library

  1. TD Summer Reading Club Tracking Notebook

Skills-based, drop-in learning activities

  1. National Summer Learning Association and the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality Summer Learning Program Quality Assessment

Chicago Public Library

  1. Learning activity tied to specific content knowledge*
  2. Read! Create! Explore! Activity plan*

Broward County Library

  1. BCL Big Win! Summer Learning Program Flyer
  2. BCL Program Planning Template

Fort Worth Library

  1. FWL Summer Activity Packet Aligned with TX State Standards

Focused Enrollment Programs

New Haven Free Public Library

  1. READy for the Grade program flyer
  2. READy for the Grade enrollment form
  3. READy for the Grade take-home reading exercises

District of Columbia Public Library

  1. Science in the Summer informational flyer
  2. Science in the Summer introductory letter to students

New York Public Library

  1. NYPL Literacy Leaders Logic Model
  2. NYPL Literacy Leaders teen application form
  3. NYPL Literacy Leaders High School Partner Site Agreement
  4. NYPL Literacy Leaders Lesson Plan

Free Library of Philadelphia

  1. Jumpstart Camp performance indicators
  2. Jumpstart Camp project calendar

III. Five Strategies to Evolve Summer Reading into Summer Learning

Engage team members across the library

Chicago Public Library

  1. Fact sheet for Summer Learning Challenge cohort leaders*
  2. Summer Learning Challenge cohort leader check-in form*

Broward county Library

  1. BCL Top-down/Bottom-up Planning tool
  2. BCL Learning Continuum planning tool

Fort Worth Library

  1. FWL Staff Training Presentation: Value of Written Curriculum

Connect summer reading with other library services to create an integrated learning program

St. Louis County Library

  1. Free Lunch at SLCL

San Jose Public Library

  1. Free Summer Food Program
  2. CA Library Association Lunch at the Library

Chicago Public Library

  1. Parent Tip Sheet*

Start Planning in September

Virginia Beach Public Library

  1. Staff Debrief Survey

San Francisco Public Library

  1. Summer Stride program

Free Library of Philadelphia

  1. Read by 4th Philadelphia

Chicago Public Library

  1. Summer Learning Challenge Mission Statement

Denver Public Library

  1. DPL Summer of Learning Mission Statement

Initiate and cultivate intentional partnerships with schools, museums and other partners

Chicago Public Library

  1. CPL MOU with the Museum of Science and Industry*

New Haven Free Public Library

  1. New Haven Public Schools Letter of Support

Virginia Beach Public Library

  1. Title I Schools Partnership Agreement

Plan programming with clear learning goals

Chicago Public Library

  1. Read! Create! Explore! Activity plan*

Fort Worth Library

  1. FWL Summer Activity Packet Aligned with TX State Standards

IV. Telling Your Story: Assessing Program Effectiveness and Delivering Key Messages

Urban Libraries Council

  1. Public Libraries and Effective Summer Learning: Opportunities for Assessment
  2. Summer Learning Partnership Mission-Building Tool

Broward County Library and San Francisco Public Library

  1. Tips for Messaging Your Summer Learning Program

National Summer Learning Association

  1. State of Summer Learning: 2015 State Policy Snapshot
  2. 2016 Funding Resource Guide
  3. 2016 Action Toolkit: Expanding Summer Learning, Meals and Jobs for America's Young People