Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge

Research shows that children who do not read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress and that the loss has a cumulative, long-term effect on them. But reading just six books at the appropriate reading level during the summer can prevent that “summer slide” and keep a struggling reader from regressing. In response, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) sponsors a Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge to encourage each participating student to read six books, at their appropriate reading level, over the summer months.

Ways to participate!

This summer, SCGLR welcomed back the Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge (SSRC) and introduced THIS BOOK IS COOL! — a series of 100 webisodes to encourage a love of reading. It premiered on June 1, 2020, and more than 1,000 children from across the Suncoast region qualified to receive free books thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation​. In total, 5,302 children participated; combined, they read 94,383 books!

SCGLR encourages families, educators, public libraries, and community centers to continue to use THIS BOOK IS COOL! webisodes to promote the joys of literacy. Each webisode features:

  • A special guest sharing reasons why this book is cool
  • Vocabulary words and a suggested activity that is connected to the book
  • THIS BOOK IS COOL! activity guide with step by step instructions for each featured book
  • Bracelets and brag tag rewards for the children

Want to explore the possibilities? Email Beth Duda, director of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, at

More Information

During Summer 2019, to avoid the “summer slide,” SCGLR engaged our four-county region and partnered with 97 summer camp providers and summer learning academies to encourage a love for reading.

Why? Because nationwide, children from asset-limited families can lose an average of 2 to 2.5 months of reading skills each summer!

  • In 2019, 8,709 children participated–a 60% increase over 2018
  • Of 8,709 kids, 6,876 read six or more books–a 40% increase over 2018

How many books did 8,709 kids actually read?

Drum roll please…..

  • 198,570 Books–a 57% increase over 2018!

In partnership with the public school systems, iReady scores were used to determine the amount of summer gains or losses in reading for those who participated through a Suncoast Summer Book Challenge site.

While it’s important that the data from the test scores show an upward trend, it’s worthwhile to note the valuable impact of connections made, of relationships built, and of memories created during the reading challenge. For example, with the extraordinary attention to detail at Glenallen Elementary’s Summer program, it’s easy to imagine how positive experiences with reading, like below, can influence a ♥ of learning.

As we moved into the 2019/20 school year, it was fun to observe how the new connections and strengthened relationships positively impacted our children.

The Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge is implemented by SCGLR and promoted through local summer camps and businesses to encourage children to read, reducing the “summer slide.” Learn the ins and outs and everything in between about the 2019 Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge, and view sites from 2018 that had zero learning loss or experienced reading gains through the challenge.

View the Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge 2018 Results.