Adventure Reading

The only reading slide this summer will be reading ON the slide! 


By Pam Leo, Family Literacy Activist

It’s finally summer! This being our third pandemic summer, we desperately need, more than ever before, lots of outdoor, fresh-air time, exercise, connection time, and adventure! However, researchers are telling us that the combination of summer slide + Covid slide is putting all students at high risk for learning loss, especially those still learning to read.

In response to this looming, potential double-jeopardy summer slide, my Farmington community-supported-literacy partner, Danielle Hamlin and I put our minds together and created the most fun summer reading challenge ever! We call it “Adventure Reading!” Danielle is the Parent, Family, Community Engagement, and Mental Health Program Manager of Community Concepts and founder of the Bring Books to Life monthly book club for Headstart parents. She is also one of our most enthusiastic and creative community-supported literacy partners.

In this issue, I’m excited for the opportunity to introduce families to the newest part of Book Fairy Pantry Project’s “Please Read To Me Everywhere” worldwide literacy campaign. It is called the 100-Places-Before-Fall Summer Adventure Reading challenge. This summer we are making summer reading a family affair. Reading is not only for bedtime anymore! First, there was letterboxing, then geocaching, and now… Adventure Reading, where the treasures you find are inside the covers of books.

This summer, reading can be an adventure sport that will provide the whole family with fresh air, exercise, time in nature, time together, and the most exciting way to prevent summer reading slide. The idea is simple. You can participate in 3 ways.  

1 The first way is simply to read a story or chapter in 100 different places before ??school starts in the fall. It can be that you read one favorite book in 100 different places, or 100 different books in 100 different places.

2 The second way is to increase your family challenge by choosing books about?some of the places you want to read, like books about the sea if you’ll be reading at the beach or books about gardens if you’ll be reading in your garden or at a park. The possibilities are endless and each family member can contribute location ideas.

3 The third way (if you want to add a tiny touch of tech) is to download the Little?Free Library locator app https://littlefreelibrary.org/app and use it to find Little Free Libraries wherever you are. You can choose to read a book or a chapter from a book you find there.

We have created a 100-Places-Before-Fall poster, a reading log to record your 100 places, and a “We Did It!” certificate of completion that are free to download and print from our website BookFairyPantryProject.org. You can also go to your local library and request that they print out your log and certificate. 
The Please Read To Me Everywhere campaign recognizes that parents are often worn out by bedtime, and yet valiantly struggle to stay awake to read multiple bedtime stories. Adventure reading can change all of that. One idea is to have your children pick out a certain number of books each morning, put them in a bag, and take them with you wherever you go. This allows you to read a book “here and there and anywhere.” That evening you may have only one or two books left to read at bedtime. Reading can happen anytime and anywhere!

The intention of our super-fun summer reading challenge is not the number of books or pages any individual child reads this summer. The intention is to support teachers, librarians, and parents with a free ready-made, easy-to-implement, summer reading challenge. We have created this program to be so easy, exciting, and fun, that reading and books will become associated with family fun, adventure, and reaching a goal together. Whether you are a family of two or a posse of six, this reading challenge can create the connection and positive childhood experiences that not only build a stronger foundation for reading success, but also help mitigate some of the trauma we have all endured these last two and a half years. 

We can’t always prevent ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) from happening to children, but we can always work hard to outnumber them with positive childhood experiences. This summer Book Fairy Pantry Project and KindKids Music will be partnering for several events for families of young children. Our mutual goal is to provide opportunities for family fun and connection through books and music. Some of our books are donated by grown-ups, but most of the books we give out to children who have no books are donated by “kind kids,” so that makes Book Fairy and KindKids Music natural community partners. Remember: “Every time you read to me our bond grows a little stronger. Your reading feels like love to me and I always want it longer. Read to me? Please?”


Pam Leo, is a family literacy activist, the author of Connection Parenting, and a new poem, Please Read To Me. Her enduring love of children's books, her passion for literacy, and her commitment to empowering parents, are combined in her new role as the founder of the Book Fairy Pantry Project, whose mission is "No Child With No Books," because "Books change children's lives... For good."