What Have You Learned This Summer?

As part of the library’s summer reading program, we encouraged everyone to dream up a learning goal, alongside a reading goal. Setting a learning goal gets to the heart of what summer reading programs are about: combatting summer learning loss while school is out of session.

During these last few weeks of summer, ask yourself what you have learned. It is never too late to set and tackle a goal! You can be sure that the staff at your library will be excited to help along the way.

I had two favorite learning goals from summer readers at the library.

One summer reader said, quite readily, “I want to learn about women who did great things.”

Some picks that offer starting points on this topic include:


The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency: The Case of the Missing Moonstone written by Jordan Stratford and illustrations by Kelly Murphy, Grades 5 & Up

History, mystery, and science collide in a new series for middle-grade readers, perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society and Lemony Snicket! Jordan Stratford imagines an alternate 1826, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency!


Rad American Women A-Z written by Kate Schatz and illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl, Grades 5 & Up

There are artists and abolitionists, scientists and suffragettes, rock stars and rabble-rousers, and agents of change of all kinds.

wangariWangari Maathai, the Woman who Planted Millions of Trees written by Franck Prevot and illustrated by Aurelia Fronty

Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts to lead women in a nonviolent struggle to bring peace and democracy to Africa through its reforestation. Her organization planted over thirty million trees in thirty years. This beautiful picture book tells the story of an amazing woman and an inspiring idea.

My second favorite summer learning goal was also delivered without hesitation. It was as if this summer reader was simply WAITING to be asked.

The reader proclaimed, “I need to learn about chicken blinking. I mean, do they blink, I think they blink up and down. I don’t know. But I’m going to figure it out!”

For this, and other “Why” and “How” queries, I found a few handy tools.

chickenfollowedA Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers About a Familiar Fowl by Robin Page

Celebrated author-illustrator Robin Page leads a step-by-step, question-and-answer-style journey through the world of chickens. Along the way you’ll explore different breeds, discover different types of coops, and learn everything there is to know about chicken reproduction and hatching.

howHow? The Most Awesome Question and Answer Book About Nature, Animals, People, Places – And You! by Catherine Ripley

Bright, playful illustrations from Scot Ritchie complement the clear text and set the scenes for the common questions that kids ask.

scienceonlineThe Science Online database offers science fair project ideas for caregivers and educators to browse, and articles about a wide range of topics in the sciences. I dug around using keyword searches in Science Online and learned about the nicitating membrane. This translucent fold helps birds and reptiles clean and moisten the eye. And it looks really cool!

But really – Do Chickens Blink? And How?

Happy reading!

By Angela Wiley, CLP – Squirrel Hill

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