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Let’s keep reading: Take the Spring Reading Challenge

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 6:00 am

By Gwendolyn Haley

Here we are in week three of “homeschooling” or what my youngest calls “keep practicing to not rot your brain.” My family of five has been together nonstop for the longest period of time since… ever. And it’s a struggle. 

It’s a struggle for my husband and me to work from home effectively while keeping three children—college, high school, and elementary school—on track for their academic year.

It’s a struggle to be patient sometimes, to have kind words for one another, and to keep from giving in to cabin fever. The kids miss their friends, and we all miss everybody.

If you’re struggling too, I wanted to share some good news from the Library District. Even though our libraries are temporarily closed, your neighborhood librarians have been working to find ways to connect with you virtually. Here’s one of those ways!


We’ve launched our Spring Reading Challenge for all ages. Using our online tracker, Beanstack, you can earn badges for every half-hour you spend reading. You can also earn badges for doing stay-at-home, stay-healthy activities.

The activity badges are divided up into three age groups:

  • Early learners – kids in pre-kindergarten through grade 3
  • Youth – kids and teens ages 8 and older
  • Adults – everybody else 

There is some overlap in ages for early learners and youth, so you can explore activities for both to see which ones are good for your child (or do both!).

To earn an activity badge, you complete at least two activities from the checklist for each badge. Badges can all be completed without leaving home. Perfect for these weeks of social isolation!

Badges are separated into themes, including:

  • Explorer
  • Maker
  • Builder
  • Mover
  • Writer
  • Virtual Visitor

For reading badges, you can log every 30 minutes of reading up to 360 minutes, collecting up to 12 badges!

There are two ways to access Beanstack: in your web browser and with the Beanstack Tracker app on your smartphone (Android and iOS).

If you use the app, you’ll find an embedded timer to track your reading minutes (once you’ve added the book you’re reading). My daughter starts her own timer for tracking her reading time—that’s winning!

As she says, “Keep practicing to not rot your brain.” Challenge accepted!

When you sign up for our Spring Reading Challenge, I highly recommend opting to have book recommendations emailed to you every week. It’s a great way to explore titles that are new to you.

When sharing your Spring Reading Challenge images and videos online, be sure to tag them with #SCLD, so we can see them and celebrate with you!

Start the Spring Reading Challenge


Our Digital Library has a multitude of offerings to explore for reading, both downloadable and streaming options. You can learn more in a previous news post: Digital Library: Making the most of the online resources.

Check it out!

Gwendolyn Haley

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