Detroit Public Library aims to keep kids reading at home

New reading challenge encourages reading, social distancing

The Detroit Public Library has come up with a fun way to keep children reading this summer and it can all be done from home at a safe distance.

DETROIT – The Detroit Public Library has come up with a fun way to keep children reading this summer and it can all be done from home at a safe distance.

We all agree it’s a summer unlike any other, so the library came up with a challenge to inspire young readers at home.

Read more: Kids at Home

With library buildings closed due to the pandemic, the traditional summer reading programs for children sadly had to be put on hold this year.

“This is about gesture to really showcase our love of reading in the city of Detroit,” said Atiim Funchess. “It’s also to show that we can work together we can get to this together is a way to celebrate. Really the joy of reading, and also working together and being determined to make it through this pandemic.”

It’s called the 313 Summer Reading Challenge -- a way to get Metro Detroiters to read together as we’re all staying apart. The goal is to get to collectively log 3.13 million minutes of reading. While that may sound like a lot, Funchess said it’s a way to encourage everybody to connect through their love of books.

“As kids, you read to escape up to, to dive into your imagination. You read to figure out what it is you’d like to do,” Funchess said. “It opens up your mind to ideas you probably haven’t thought of before.”

Until Labor Day, the Detroit Public Library is asking readers to log how many minutes you spend reading and share your log with the library.

“You go outside in the backyard or wherever and get a little shade and open that book up and travel,” Funchess said. “You know it’s a wonderful, it’s a wonderful way and it’s the easiest way. And to me is one of the best ways to really open up your mind to what’s going on and and to open up yourself to new experiences.”

With so many limits on where we can go and what we can do right now, they’re hoping their challenge catches on with summer being the perfect time to curl up with a good book.

“We want them to be a part of something bigger than themselves,” Funchess said. “We didn’t pick a number that was going to be easy, we picked a difficult number because we want people to be able to talk about to share with their friends and family. Read to your grandparents over the phone, whatever you can do to make this a fun experience but also make it something that you can share with your loved ones and others because it should be fun.”

To sign up for the 313 Summer Reading Challenge, visit the official Detroit Public Library website here. If you don’t have internet access, but still would like to join the challenge, call 313-481-1400.

About the Authors:

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.