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August 24, 2022


Karen Windon, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The end of summer always brings a pang of sadness, along with the gleeful anticipation that comes with a new school year. It also brings incredible feedback and insights from the families who participated in our summer program!  

Our request for comments brought a resounding 517 responses from participating THIS BOOK IS COOL! families throughout the region – Charlotte 110, DeSoto 30, Manatee 117, and Sarasota 259. We learned about favorite books, favorite experiences, and what improvements participants would like to see in the program. SCGLR also received several great ideas for 2023 that we will consider moving forward. We also learned that 84% of those who responded are willing to provide even more feedback, showing us that the trust in the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is high! 

When asked about the communication experience with their team member, responses were overwhelmingly positive. Time and time again, we heard about great communication, the beauty of receiving both text and email messages, the kindness and patience shown (even when families forgot to respond), and appreciation for personalized messages. The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading TEAM IS COOL! for sure!

Family Engagement Nights were a big topic, with almost 60% saying they would like to attend an in-person event instead of solely participating on Zoom. Answers to a question about what they would change ranged from having access to recorded presentations so families could watch later to better engagement for PreK families. One mom shared, “My experience was great. It started on time, and the host was prepared and knowledgeable. It was easy to log in to Zoom and participate. Events were engaging for the children.” Another, when asked what should be changed, said, “Nothing, we would just love to hug you all for all that you do for our children!!”

Book selection also brought many positive comments. A parent said, “The books were wonderful! I remembered a few from my childhood and was very excited to share them with my daughter.” We also heard, “The selection was AMAZING!!!,” “10/10!,” “He truly loves them all and reads them repeatedly every week.” “My son loves animals. So he LOVED What If You Had Animal Teeth? and The Very Impatient Caterpillar. I also really liked Wilma Unlimited; I thought it had a great lesson & was very inspirational, especially for my child who has a chronic illness.” Another who asked her daughter about her favorite book responded, “She just said she cannot choose a favorite. They are ALL her favorites.”

We heard about children reading books by the pool, in the pool, under a tree, in a tree, at bedtime, and even on trips! One mom said, “She loved most of them.” Rocks & Minerals was her favorite. “We ended up taking it on vacation. We went gem mining and used it to identify what we found.”

So many families were vocal about how thankful they were for the program. Hearing the feedback about the best part of the program was reaffirming as parent after parent recounted the joy of sharing books they had read as a child or receiving books that they would never have selected but which really triggered their child’s imagination.

Kudos for Family Engagement Nights, the webisodes, the quality and diversity of the books, the activities, the ice cream, and the team were rampant. The gratitude for family snuggles and laughter resonated throughout the feedback. 

This mom reminds us that every opportunity is a learning opportunity. “Honestly, picking them (the books) up, especially at libraries, gives my kid a sense of appreciation and responsibility. Seeing how there were so many books given in the pack and then him learning about how fortunate we are to have a library close to us – we are truly grateful! Had it not been for the book festival held at Cool Today Park, we wouldn’t have known about the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Thank you for everything!”

And this parent sums it up beautifully by saying, “The best part of the summer program was to watch my son’s reading progress and his love for reading grow. He enjoyed reading to the family! I also loved getting to spend some quality one-on-one time with him as we read to each other each and every night.” It’s true: THESE BOOKS ARE COOL!

We appreciate everyone who took the time to offer feedback and complete the survey. 


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