Reading Programs Thrive Through COVID Crisis

New technology has allowed schools and libraries to keep readers reading.

March 2020 will always be remembered as the time the world stopped. Schools and libraries abruptly closed, not knowing how they would continue serving students and patrons.  It was stressful to say the least. 

Educators and librarians were frantically developing plans to deliver education and library services and had no idea where to start. Early spring is typically when schools and libraries plan summer reading programs, but everything had changed and nobody knew how to proceed.

During this time, Reader Zone was in its final beta testing phase. Jake Ball, the creator, was excited to show a modern version of the paper reading log. When he heard about the panicked educators, he knew he had the answer to this crisis. 

Jake reached out to schools and libraries and helped many quickly re-launch their vital reading programs digitally using the Reader Zone platform.  Jake made Reader Zone free for any size organization between mid-March and the end of May.  Just so schools could get students going with reading while at home. 

Over 130 organizations from single classrooms to entire state library systems adopted Reader Zone in more than 26 countries. Reading Programs were thriving, and stress was lifted from educators. 

Libraries and schools quickly found that Reader Zone was not just a short term Band Aid, but a system that helped them build readers better than the systems they were using prior to the COVID shutdowns.

Libraries saw a dramatic increase in participation in summer reading programs from 2019 to 2020. Jennifer Hills, the library director from Twin Falls, Idaho said, “We saw an almost 50% increase in the number of adults participating in Summer Reading, and for kids, we saw an uptick in completion rates.” 

Organizations are continuing to have success in building reading through the COVID crisis. Schools and libraries are replacing their traditional paper reading calendar with beautiful modern technology.

Reader Zone was so successful, that in three months, over 23 million minutes were logged and over 9 million pages read. Jake even put together a 1,000-minute August Reading Challenge with more than 600 participants. 

“I have never been able to follow the progress of reading over the summer before, and with Reader Zone, I am able to track student progress BEFORE school starts,” says Traci Cope of Crane Country Day School. 

“Once my summer program started, it was simple to check the progress of my patrons. I could see how we were doing as a whole or each as a group,” Jess Lind from Austin Public Library stated.

The COVID crisis has disrupted nearly every industry and organization in the world. However, our children cannot wait for the solution to this crisis to build reading skills.  They need to be reading today.  

Reader Zone has allowed schools and libraries to build and deploy meaningful reading programs that out-perform their pre-COVID systems.  Children all over the world are building positive reading habits thanks to Reader Zone and the solution it offers.