Are You Ready to Take the Summer Learning Challenge?

The Summer Learning Challenge is a fun -- and free -- way to engage children, families and even adults by challenging them to read books, explore new activities and learn new skills.

All 32 public libraries in San Mateo County, from Brisbane to Woodside, are participating. Young children and students can sign up at, opens a new window, at any public library or when the Bookmobile comes your way. Participants receive a free book just for signing up.

In addition to an end-of-summer $1,000 scholarship drawing, libraries will host drawings for fun donated prizes such as Giants tickets, museum passes, gift cards and more for children who visit the library and attend activities, performances and events. These include performances and exhibits by Jungle James, Music Time with Mariela Herrera and Didgeridoo Down Under. And activities such as Fairytale Engineering with the Bay Area Discovery Museum, opens a new window, art classes, cooking and more. (All events, performances, exhibits and activities are free!)

It’s all in the name of fun but the Summer Learning Challenge offers the type of benefits parents appreciate: a halt to what’s known as the “summer slide,” or the loss in some of the achievement gains students made during the school year. Research confirms students perform, on average, one month behind where they left off in the spring. But not all students experience “average” losses. The summer slide or summer learning loss disproportionately affects students from families with low incomes with limited access to enrichment summer camps, museums and travel. The slide is cumulative: by fifth grade, summer learning loss can leave students from low-income families 2½ to 3 years behind their peers.

“We know the Summer Learning Challenge can help kids and we're working to engage the kids who are most vulnerable to summer learning loss in the program," said Nicole Pasini, Deputy Director for the San Mateo County Libraries. “For many children, summer is really an untapped opportunity to engage children in reading and learning for fun.”

To get started, visit your local library or sign up online, opens a new window!