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September 3, 2021

We Asked, They Answered: Feedback from THIS BOOK IS COOL! Summer Reading

Karen Windon, Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The interest in the 2021 THIS BOOK IS COOL! Suncoast Summer Reading Challenge was unprecedented from the start. Our goal of reaching 2,000 children in PreK through 3rd grade was quickly surpassed, with 3,133 children registered for the program (not including those registered through summer providers). So when we sent out a request to families for feedback on their experiences, we were optimistic that we would receive at least a handful of responses. To our delight, we received responses from more than 10% of our registrants. Phenomenal!

With feedback from all five participating counties (in addition to our four-county region, we had participants from Hardee County), we heard from families who were absolutely thrilled with the program, the quality of the books, and the activities that accompanied them.

Several families remarked on the diversity of the books. “I love that my child got to read different stories about many important people that I don’t think we would have read about otherwise. We usually get the books she likes, but through THIS BOOK IS COOL!, she was exposed to new things.” Additionally, the word banks were important to this mom who wrote, “My son was using words he’d never used before! He definitely increased his vocabulary. Thank you bunches for the opportunity provided to my child!”

As one may expect, the quality of free books was most frequently reported as the best part of the program. 18% of those who responded loved that it created an opportunity to read with their child, while others felt the best parts were the activity book that correlated to the webisodes, the family engagement nights, and connecting with their engagement team members who they felt really cared about them and their child.

While we always like positive feedback, we also asked for desired improvements to the program. Although 56% of the responses didn’t suggest any changes, we had thoughtful suggestions, including  more in-person activities (something we ALL are looking forward to) and options to add older elementary children. The feedback on how families would like to receive their books was also very helpful as we look to the future.

In addition, we had 83 respondents who said they are willing to participate in a deeper dive about their experiences. It’s exciting to see that these individuals are so invested in the program that they are willing to dedicate their time to continuous improvement!

While the numbers are important, this quote from a thankful father highlights the reason behind it all. “At the start of the summer, she never read a book on her own or even started one. Last night she was reading 80% on her own, and it is because TBIC! helped us. Thank you!”

Reading IS the key to succeeding!


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