7 outdoor literacy activities for kids

Making play dough at the park.

Making play dough at the park.

This summer, Holyoke Public Schools is engaging parents and kids with a series of literacy activities at different community parks, showing that we can learn while we enjoy the nice weather. As a Family Access and Engagement Coordinator for a Holyoke elementary school, I’ve had a lot of fun leading these literacy activities outdoors. They are perfect to use as part of a summer program or at home with your own children. Read More »


5 children’s summer reading books to build a better world

Girl (4-5) standing on seashore, looking at bird taking off, rear view

This summer, the theme for Massachusetts libraries is “Build a better world one small gesture at a time.” It opens the door for families with young readers to share stories of kind deeds that may seem simple in the grand scheme of things, but unlock passageways to a greater good.

Birds and broken wings lend themselves to messages of hope, empathy, journeys into creating friendships and to heart wrenching, but necessary farewells. Here is a list of children’s books about birds that make great summer reads. Read More »


Summer Smart Reading Challenge helps Lynn children become readers

Summer Smart Reading Challenge \

Something different is going on at The REAL Program in Lynn, Mass. The nonprofit helps improve children’s literacy skills by providing kids with books, homework assistance, healthy food and enrichment opportunities. Their director Jan Plourde is committed to using innovative practices to help kids in need – which is why they adopted the Summer Smart Reading Challenge.

The entire program of 40 children is actively reading and participating in the challenge. And implementation has been easy. To log each child’s reading, summer teaching interns just scan the barcodes of books using the free Readocity app. Read More »


Mass Literacy partners with Readoicty to launch Summer Smart Reading Challenge

Summer Smart Reading Challenge

Are you looking for a new way to build excitement about summer reading? Then join the free Summer Smart Reading Challenge open to all students entering grades K-12. Designed in partnership between Mass Literacy and the technology startup Readocity, the program helps children become lifelong lovers of reading. The challenge runs from June 5 to August 31. Parents and educators can sign up now.

Using the Readocity app, students can set reading goals, track their progress, and discover award-winning book recommendations. Educators can upload their own summer reading lists and access their classroom’s reading data to help plan for the next school year.

We are thrilled to partner with Readocity to get children and teens reading this summer. Our shared goal is to inspire students to read well beyond the summer months and into the rest of their lives.

Be named the official Summer Smart Reading Champion in the Boston Herald!
Both the school and the individual student that logs the most reading hours will be named Summer Smart Reading Champions and be featured in the Boston Herald. All students who meet their goals will be listed in the Boston Herald as Summer Reading Stars. Read More »


Children to receive bookcases loaded with books to bridge reading gap

Here’s what we know: Even as early as grade school, the reading gap for low-income students is already present. More than a third of children entering kindergarten lack the basic language skills needed to learn how to read, and studies show there are significant gaps in reading achievement by race and income. Nearly half of fourth graders from low-income families read below the basic level.

Here’s what else we know: Whether families are rich or poor, books in the home are closely associated with an increase the level of education the children in that home will attain. One study found that having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education.

Based on that, wouldn’t it seem like a good first step to put a bookcase with at least 20 books in each low-income home? Read More »