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Summer Reading Programs: Themes

Summer reading programs began in the 1890s as a way to encourage school children, particularly those in urban areas and not needed for farm work, to read during their summer vacation, use the library and develop the habit of reading.

Themes

The American Library Association does not set the themes for summer reading programs held at many public libraries nationwide. These may be set by the individual library or by the state library. Many individual or state libraries use the themes set by either the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), a grassroots consortium of states working together to provide summer reading program materials for children, or the Illinois Reading Enrichment and Development (iREAD) program, a coordinated, self-supporting effort to develop and provide resources and products to enable local library staff to promote reading, not just in Illinois, but also in a number of other states and over a dozen countries.