Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings kicks off Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge

The Dallas Library

Read and get rewarded! In an effort to keep academic skills sharp and encourage the whole family to read every day, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings joined students and community supporters to kick off the 2018 Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge. The free 10-week program, which runs June 2-Aug. 11, encourages daily reading of books, newspapers, magazines, audiobooks and e-books. Presented by Epsilon, the Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge is a family affair open to children and adults. Participants can enjoy fantastic prizes and more than 2,500 weekly STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities offered throughout the summer. Registration is now underway at any of the 29 Dallas library locations or online at dallaslibrary.org/msrc.

While the Challenge officially begins June 2, people may register throughout the summer. Special kickoff parties will take place at every library location on Saturday, June 2. These include astronaut training camps, Black Panther movie parties, petting zoos, performers, Mad Science demos, magicians and more. (Check with each local library for specific details.)

Young Challenge members can earn incentive prizes – including books plus coupons and passes to local attractions – for every 10 days they read at least 20 minutes. Adults will be entered into prize drawings for every 10 days of 20-minute reading they log. Reading can be reported to any Dallas Public Library or online at dallaslibrary.org/msrc. See details and rules below. Kids who read at least 50 days by Aug. 11 will be entered to win grand prizes including special experiences such as behind-the-scenes access to the penguin exhibit at the Dallas Zoo and Dallas Stars tickets with a post-game meet-and-greet with the team.

Mayor Rawlings stressed that year-round reading reduces summer learning loss, keeps academic skills strong, inspires curiosity, enhances comprehension and vocabulary, and helps establish a foundation for young people to become lifelong readers and learners.

“It’s incredible to see how the Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge has grown and evolved over the decades to become among the largest in Texas,” said Mayor Rawlings. “Summers are a notorious time for learning loss for our kids, especially under-served children. But just 20 minutes of reading per day can tremendously reverse those effects while increasing literacy and a lifelong love for learning.”

In true fashion, Mayor Rawlings thanked presenting sponsor Epsilon and the sponsors and community partners who generously support the Challenge.

“The Mayor’s successful and fun reading program inspires thousands of kids and families to read and experience a medley of enriching experiences throughout the summer months,” said Amit Deshpande, Senior Vice President of Analytics, Epsilon. “At Epsilon, we are innovators and believe in the power of reading from early on. It truly carries and propels you through life.”

This year, the Challenge is working with companies and organizations to conduct new book drives either onsite at their locations or by offering online book drives where people can easily make monetary donations.

Delivering remarks at today’s kickoff were Amit Deshpande, senior vice president of analytics, Epsilon; Cheryl Brown, director of community engagement, Cigna North Texas and Oklahoma; Carol Roberts, community and partnership marketing manager, Albertson’s/Tom Thumb; Christine Anderson, director of corporate communications, Sammons Corporation; Matthew Randazzo, CEO of the Dallas Foundation; Suzanne Massey, director of community relations, SMU; Mary Wilonsky, executive director of the Friends of the Dallas Public Library; and Jo Giudice, director, Dallas Public Library. Students from Charles Rice Learning Center were on hand, along with the Dallas Cowboys’ mascot Rowdy, Dallas Stars’ mascot Victor E.  Green, Dallas Mavericks’ mascots Mavs Man and Champ, and Dallas Wings’ mascot Lightning.

FULL STEAM AHEAD. Thanks to The Dallas Foundation and the Friends of the Dallas Public Library, more than 2,500 weekly STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities will take place at all 29 Dallas library locations throughout the summer. Family-fun will include DIY solar ovens, oil spill cleanup, crafts, foosball game building, terrarium creations, owl pellet dissection, cityscape painting, infinity tiles, fascinating fossils and more, plus special performers, visits by unusual animals and insects, and musical shows. Interactive programs will be presented by partner organizations such as the Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Museum of Art, and Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

READING CHALLENGE RULES AND PRIZES. Children ages 0 to 18 can earn incentive prizes by reading at least 20 minutes a day. Readers can log each day they read online at dallaslibrary.org/msrc or at any Dallas Public Library location. Books, e-books, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines all count towards reading, but video games and websites do not.

Once 10 days of 20-minute reading have been logged, young participants may visit their nearest library to pick up a free book of their choice PLUS a pass or coupon to some of the area’s top attractions and eateries including the Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars, Dallas Zoo, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Mavericks, SMU Meadows Museum, Medieval Times, Nasher Sculpture Center, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Pizza Hut, SusieCakes and more. For every 10 days of 20-minute reading, they can visit their library for more free books and prizes – with giveaways awarded at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 days of reading.

Adults will be entered into weekly and grand prize drawings for every 10 days of 20-minute reading they log. Every title/10 days logged counts toward an entry in the adult weekly prize drawings along with grand-prize drawings at week 5 and week 10.

Grand prizes.
Kids who read at least 50 days by Aug. 11 will be entered to win the grand prizes, including a behind-the-scenes tour of the Dallas Zoo’ penguin exhibit; a behind-the-scenes tour of City Vet Oaklawn; Dallas Stars tickets plus a tour and post-game meet-and-greet with the team; VIP experiences with the SMU football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams including tickets behind the bench, a facilities tour and a meet-and-greet with the team; a behind-the-scenes tour of Toyota Stadium and admission to the National Soccer Hall of Fame; a chance to shadow a healthcare professional for four hours at Baylor Scott & White Health Heart and Vascular Hospital; an opportunity to see a surgical spine case at Wellspine P.A.; a tasting and $100 gift certificate to SusieCakes; a virtual reality party at Spark!; and more.

For adults, the grand prizes include hotel stays, creative arts workshops, theater and dance performance tickets plus gift certificates to restaurants, hair salons and comedy clubs.

Other grand prizes include passes and gift certificates to area attractions and restaurants including Adventure Landing; Alley Cats; AMC North Park 15; American Airlines Center/ Center Operating Company; Artisan Center Theater; AT&T Performing Arts Center; Bahama Beach; Bibbentuckers; Billy Bob’s Texas; Celebration Restaurant, Market and Catering; Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill and Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House; Creative Arts Center of Dallas; Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden; Dallas Black Dance Theater; Dallas Cowboys; Dallas Farmers Market; Dallas Mavericks; Dallas Museum of Art; Dallas Opera; Drybar; Fort Worth Zoo; Froggies 5 and 10; Frontiers of Flight Museum; Hilton Anatole Hotel; Hilton Dallas Park Cities; Hyatt Regency Dallas; Improv Comedy Club; Jumpstreet; Kitchen Dog Theater; Klyde Warren Park; Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie; Maggiano’s Little Italy; Magic Time Machine; Nate’s Seafood & Steakhouse; Nasher Sculpture Garden; Obstacle Warrior Kids; Reunion Tower – Go Deck; Perot Museum of Nature and Science; Sea World of San Antonio; SPCA of Texas; Spin Pizza; State Fair of Texas; Strikz Entertainment; Studio Movie Grill; Terilli’s Restaurant and Bar; Texas Motor Speedway; The Dallas Morning News; The Original Pancake House; The Westin Galleria; Times Ten Cellars; Trinity Forest Adventure Park; Trinity River Audobon Center; Uchi; and Urban Air.

For 45 years, the Dallas Public Library’s summer reading program has encouraged more than 300,000 children to read. The Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge is a collaborative effort between the City of Dallas Mayor’s Office, Dallas Public Library, Dallas ISD and dozens of community sponsors and donors.

Epsilon is presenting sponsor. Other sponsors and partners include Albertson’s/Tom Thumb, Cigna, Dallas Mavericks, Friends of the Dallas Public Library, Hilltop Securities, KPMG, Sammons Foundation, SMU and The Dallas Foundation. Donors are Carol and Steve Aaron; Judy and Phillip Askew; Billingsley Company; Barbara and Randal Brown; Columbus Realty Partners Ltd.; David Deniger and Mara Batlin; Tony Dieste; Fluor Corporation; HALL Group; Cindy and Art Harding; The Hegi Family; Al G. Hill, Jr.; Lyda Hill; JLL; JQ Engineering; KDC Real Estate; Herb Kelleher; Lottye and Bobby Lyle; Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, Inc.; Erle A. Nye; Howard Rachofsky; Edward W. Rose, III Family Fund; Joy and Ronald Mankoff; Mike A. Myers; Aileen and Jack Pratt Foundation; The Perot Foundation; Riggs Family Foundation; The Stanford C. and Mary Claire Finney Foundation; and Kirk Wilson.

Media partners are Fox 4 and My 27, Univision 23 and UniMas 49, 106.1 KISS FM, K104, Smooth R&B 105.7, Qué Buena 94.1 FM, Latino Mix 107.9/107.1 FM, and Greensheet Media.

To sign up or learn more, go to dallaslibrary.org/msrc or call 214-670-1671.

Photo credits go to Annie Spratt @anniespratt

  • The Dallas Library