Back in February, in honour of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, The Children’s Book Bank hosted our own version of the games: The Reading Olympics! This program sought to encourage children to take and read books of varying formats and subjects; ones that they may not have been interested in taking off our shelves in past visits. Over the course of a month, children read books about magic, poetry books, graphic novels, and books with a number in the title (just to name a few categories). After reading these books, participants were required to orally report about what they read. Each book report warranted a stamp in the designated category and once a child had received 5 stamps in different categories they were awarded a bronze medal, 10 stamps secured them a silver medal and 15 stamps won them a gold medal!

Olympic Gold Medalist Koshin!

Olympic Gold Medalist Koshin!

Olympic Gold Medalist Jierui!

Olympic Gold Medalist Jierui!

Olympic Gold Medalist Azma!

Olympic Gold Medalist Azma!

The results are in and with over 70 participants and 12 medalists, The Children’s Book Bank’s Reading Olympics was a huge victory! The program’s measurable successes include an increase in visit frequency and more diverse inventory being checked out, for example: biographies, Canadian authors, folk tales, and books from another time or another place. Most importantly, this program showcased the Book Bank as a fun destination for literacy support in Regent Park. Having the participants recall what they had read and answer questions about the books challenged readers and ensured that books that were taken off our shelves were carefully read. The palpable spirit of competition at our storefront is something we hope to repeat with future games. See you in 2015 for the Pan Am Games!