Winter break is here, but the reading continues

Check out these events, activities, and books.

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Learning happens inside and outside the classroom, and children of all ages can strengthen their literacy skills even when school is in recess.

Across the city, partners in the READ! by 4th campaign to promote early literacy are supporting year-round learning with a number of events and opportunities during winter break and beyond. Parents, students, educators, and organizations are encouraged to explore and take advantage of these opportunities.

Free eBooks

Until Jan. 15, the American Reading Co. is providing 50 free eBooks and a coaching guide for Philadelphia students. Families can access these books on a browser or through the free Bookshelf eReader on any Android, iPhone, or iPad. Find out more here.

Winter break activities and events

The School District has compiled a list of resources to support children’s literacy growth over winter break. Resources range from early childhood weblinks to reading kits in English and Spanish for students in grades K-3. Access the District’s page of resources here.

The READ! by 4th campaign team is hosting one-hour winter break camps at three library branches around the city. Children and families that attend the camps can expect to participate in word rap battles, vocabulary dance parties, and group storytelling. Each child will also walk away with a free book and other prizes. Camps are geared toward children ages 3-10. Children under age 7 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, email Gigi McGraw at or call at 215-814-4112.

  • Nicetown-Tioga branch, Dec. 28, 1 p.m.
  • Greater Olney branch, Dec. 28, 3 p.m.
  • Kingsessing branch, Dec. 29, 1 p.m.

Free books

The READ! by 4th campaign will soon receive 25,000 books through a donation from First Book. The shipment will mostly contain books for children ages 0-8, and books that are most suitable for read-alouds and independent reading. Educators and partners are encouraged to apply for as many books as they need. Teachers interested in requesting books for their classrooms should pool their requests with other teachers to meet a 200-book minimum request. Email Abby Thaker, READ! by 4th’s director of strategic partnerships, at with your request or inquiry.