‘What’s Your Story?’ The Seattle Public Library Launches Summer of Learning 2021 With Story Telling Fun
release date: 06/21/2021
Share a recipe. Design your dream playground. Interview your grandpa. Make a sign in the style of Amanda Gorman. Tell your family story as a rap lyric. Put your bare feet in the grass and write about it. Draw your happiness.
Those are just some of the creative activities you can do with The Seattle Public Library’s 2021 Summer of Learning program, which launched today under the theme “What’s Your Story?” Head to an open Library location to pick up a colorful, poster-size flier filled with writing prompts, quotes, questions and book recommendations that encourage youth and families to explore, create, draw and share stories with friends, families and neighbors all summer long.
Now in its 102nd year, Summer of Learning has gone through shifts in recent years to make the program more racially equitable and accessible. For 2021, the Library partnered with The African-American Writers’ Alliance and The Bureau of Fearless Ideas to plan content and programming for the Summer of Learning poster that encourages a whole-family, intergenerational approach to reading and learning. The African-American Writers’ Alliance worked with local Black writers to create content while the Bureau of Fearless Ideas vetted their contributions with youth of color they work with.
“Coming out of the pandemic, we wanted to encourage children and families to focus on imagination, joy and the strength of the stories that already connect them across generations and cultures,” said Amy Twito, Program Manager at The Seattle Public Library. “Rather than focusing on what kids can lose over the summer while they are out of school, we’re focusing on what they can gain by learning together with their family members and friends.”
"When I reflect on the process of creating content for the Summer of Learning, I am grateful that it has been welcoming, culturally relevant, and racially equitable for communities that have been traditionally marginalized," said Noni Ervin of the African American Writers Alliance.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN SUMMER OF LEARNING 2021
Once children have picked up their Summer of Learning posters, available at all Library locations that are offering in-building or Curbside services, they can start using the writing and drawing prompts to fill in the poster and explore and create their stories. They can describe moods as colors, invent a dance, write a letter to their bestie and map their identities, among many other activities. Kids are encouraged to share their stories with friends, family and community members.
Multilingual versions, more activities: The Summer of Learning website (www.spl.org/SummerofLearning) features more prompts and hands-on activities, as well as downloadable versions of the flier in multiple languages, including Amharic, Simplified Chinese, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya and Vietnamese. You can also find poetry templates, book trackers for children and teens, coloring sheets featuring the artwork from the poster and book lists.
Reading recommendations: To fire up your summer reading, the “What’s Your Story” poster and website include book lists and reading recommendations associated with the activities. Kids can also submit a Your Next Five form to get a personalized reading list form the Library, browse the many “Staff Pick” book lists on the website, or simply ask a children’s librarian next time you’re visiting the Library.
Reading logs: Want to keep track of reading? Find a book tracker for kids and teens at www.spl.org/SummerofLearning. You can also download Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Summer Book Bingo cards for youth ages 17 and under, or enroll in Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading Program for students grades 1-6.
Virtual programming: Because of safety concerns related to the pandemic, the Library is not offering in-person programming this summer, but families will be able to explore their stories through virtual programming to be aired later this summer, including workshops on “Celebrating Black Joy and Brilliance Through Storytelling and Writing” workshops, led by the African-American Writer’s Alliance, and elders and youth from the community.
In addition, families can enjoy dozens of virtual story times and other children’s programs already posted on the Library’s Kids YouTube channel.
Free Burke Museum tickets: From July 1 through Dec. 31, 2021, participants in Summer of Learning 2021 can reserve up to six free tickets (two adults and four children) to the Burke Museum. To reserve tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-616-8616. On the day of your visit, bring your tickets, your Summer of Learning poster, and masks for each person in your group.
More reading and learning resources: The Library offers many other reading and learning resources for children and families over the summer, including virtual one-on-one tutoring, language classes, personalized learning plans and more. Find them at www.spl.org/remotelearning.
Early learner action guide: Parents of pre-readers can download a 16-page activity guide for early learners in eight languages that was developed in 2020, with a range of ideas and inspiration for raising a reader, from animal alphabet cards to singing and science fun.
More details about the Library’s Summer of Learning 2021 programs are available at spl.org/SummerofLearning. Seattle Public Schools students can access all digital Library resources, including thousands of free e-books, through the Library Link partnership with Seattle Public Schools.
Adults can also get in on the summer reading fun. Download your Book Bingo card at spl.org/BookBingo to start filling in your challenge squares.
The 2021 Summer of Learning is sponsored by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and The Burke Museum. Partners include the African-American Writers’ Alliance, a collective of Seattle-area African-American writers of all ages, and the Bureau of Fearless Ideas, a nonprofit learning organization where young people ages 6-18 are inspired by words and discover their creative voice.
Other Summer of Learning partners include Shunpike, the nonprofit agency that provides independent arts groups with the services, resources, and opportunities they need to forge their own paths to sustainable success; and AfricaTown Center for Education and Innovation, which was formed by concerned parents, veteran educators and community stakeholders in an effort to change the trajectory of African-American students by providing a culturally responsive learning community that fosters hope, resilience and academic achievement.
Four artists, including Tessa Hulls, Eileen Jimenez, Stephanie Morales and Brandon “BT” Thomas, collaborated on artwork for the Summer of Learning poster and Book Bingo. Find out more about them at www.spl.org/SummerofLearning.
The Seattle Public Library is in the process of reopening Library locations for In-Building Services, including 10 more locations the week of June 21. Check www.spl.org/RoadtoReopening for the latest news on which Library locations are open.
Library programs are free and open to the public. For more information about Summer of Learning, visit www.spl.org/summeroflearning, call the Library at 206-386-4636 or Ask Us. For ADA accommodations, please contact: email@example.com.