Summer Reading and the Personal History Initiative

Submitted by NYSL Staff on Fri, 07/17/2020 - 14:04
Summer Reading Program slogan, Imagine Your Story.

A collaboration between the NYSL COVID-19 Personal History Initiative (PHI) and Summer Reading 2020 came together when State Library colleagues recognized the strong connection between young people documenting their personal history during the pandemic and the 2020 Summer Reading theme of folklore and fairy tales and telling your own story.

Librarians have put together some ideas for Summer Reading programs/activities, which can also be done independently by parents with teens and children. The page also links to a webinar featuring an introduction about both the Summer Reading program and the PHI. Though designed for librarians to use, the webinar may offer an interesting peek into the world of Summer Reading planning. 

Families can also reach out to their local libraries and see what might be on offer for Summer Reading. Virtual programs, curbside pick-up of materials, even grab and go activities are some of the services libraries across the state are providing. Check with yours locally to see what you can participate in.


Journaling for Kids

porch with homemade 518 Rainbow Hunt banner hanging on the railing

Children's voices are underrepresented in the historical record but children live through and experience the same events adults do. Hearing their voices will add to the future understanding of life in 2020.

If your child is old enough to write on their own you can encourage them to create their own journal. Adults can assist younger children by asking them questions and recording their answers. All children might want to create drawings or other artwork to add to their journals.

Some questions to help get children started on a journal:

  • How did you feel today?
  • What has been your favorite/least favorite thing about staying home?
  • What questions do you have?
  • What would you like to change? What would you like to stay the same?