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Combatting Summer Slide with Summer Stride: Library offers more than 1,000 summer learning and exploration programs

May 12, 2017

 San Francisco, CA — The Library’s annual summer learning program, Summer Stride, opens on May 13 and runs through Aug. 20. Summer Stride offers prizes, special free weekly programs at every neighborhood library, free shuttle excursions to local national parks, youth volunteer opportunities and college scholarships.

San Francisco Public Library’s Summer Stride program encourages students and patrons of all ages and abilities to track their reading time and to stop by their neighborhood library for books, comics, ebooks, audiobooks, and more. Summer Stride includes more than 1,000 learning and exploration programs for the whole family, like LEGO robotics, engineering, magic, crafts, hip hop classes, summer films and more.

The Library’s Summer Stride program works to combat “summer slide,” which is the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of their achievement gains made during the previous school year. Statistics show that in low-income households, students fall behind an average of two months in reading during the summer. Differences in children’s summer learning experiences during their elementary school years can ultimately impact whether they earn a high school diploma and continue to college.

Summer Stride not only works to strengthen a student’s literacy skills during their summer months, it also builds important STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills and expands the notion of learning to include active exploration outside of library walls. Summer Stride programs focus on youth, but also engage the entire family and adult patrons.

“The Library is a place of full access to educational and entertaining materials during the summer months and throughout the school year,” says City Librarian Luis Herrera. “Summer Stride helps keeps students engaged and excited to begin the new school year.  The library is a safe and equitable space for people to gather and share knowledge, and this summer we’re proud to continue offering dynamic programming for people of all ages and abilities.”

Summer Stride has forged crucial partnerships that help to emphasize “beyond the book” learning. For a second year, the Library has teamed up with the National Park Service to keep children and families reading, creating and exploring all summer long. Ranger talks occur in all 28 locations, and patrons can take free shuttle excursions from nine neighborhood libraries to local national parks. Book Nooks in parks distribute free books through little free libraries, and branches feature “trailheads,” offering maps, reading and resources for visiting local National Parks.  New this year, “Story Walks” are located in the local national parks, offering guided trail tours using children’s picture books.

Christine Lehnerts, former Superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, says, “This partnership with the San Francisco Public Library is a fantastic way for kids and their families to get to know the national parks in their backyard.”

A new partnership with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema offers free film screenings for families as part of ‘Kids Camp,’ a librarian-led summer film program in the historic New Mission Theater that includes titles such as Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess Bride and The Iron Giant. Select screenings include giveaways, costume contests and other activities.

Summer Stride includes interactive game boards for children, teens and adults that encourage reading and allow readers to win prizes. The beautiful and whimsical artwork featured on all Summer Stride promotional materials was created in partnership with Chronicle Books and designed by Lizi Boyd, an award-winning author and illustrator. Lizi’s Summer Stride illustrations are a takeoff from her latest book, I Wrote You a Note, published by Chronicle Books.

All reading, listening, learning and library time counts toward the prize goal. Participants who read 20 hours are eligible to receive a commemorative Summer Stride tote bag.  In addition, all participants are eligible to enter weekly raffles to win prizes including passes to San Francisco museums, sporting events and attractions.

Summer Stride programs and activities will be held throughout the San Francisco Public Library system.

Please visit your favorite San Francisco Public Library for details, or go to sfpl.org/summerstride.

Summer Stride Video PSA (available as a video file upon request):

View the Summer Stride Guide (PDF)

Check out San Francisco Unified School District’s robust Summer Reading List (PDF)

Summer Stride 2017 is funded by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library

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