The Summer Reading Program: a paragon of South Pasadena’s academic climate

Story and Photo by Luyang Zhang
Staff Writer

South Pasadena Unified School District’s consistent recognition for superior academic performance through awards such as the Gold Ribbon Award, Honor Roll, and Distinguished School Award highlights the district’s heavy community emphasis on top-tier education. This dedication to academic excellence starts at the earliest educational levels: the Summer Reading Program at the South Pasadena Public Library perfectly exemplifies the collective push South Pasadena students experience to excel in the classroom. Appropriately themed Reading Takes You Everywhere, this summer from June 4th to August 4th, the program maintains its reputation as an academic staple in our tight-knit community.

The Summer Reading Program has been a fixture in the South Pasadena Public Library for decades, with records of its work extending back to the 1960s. Since its founding, the program has expanded from a small group of students to over 2,000 teens, children, and toddlers. This year, the library is also launching a new section in the program specifically for adults, so readers exceeding the former age limit of 18 have an opportunity to experience the fun.

The Summer Reading Program aims to instill a motivation and desire to read by offering small prizes to individuals who have fulfilled their weekly quota of reading minutes and allowing students to explore their personal literary interests. However, the program extends beyond reading: teenagers can apply to be a program volunteer, aiding their community while gaining service hours and graduation credit. The applied life skills and academic knowledge that result from reading fluency and community service benefit students in an extracurricular and in-school context and will preserve the South Pasadena legacy of excellence.

“When parents say that their child was not a reader before the program but the program helped them to discover reading is fun, that validates why we do all this work,” says Maida Wong, the leader of the program. “It’s very rewarding to see everyone so motivated and inspired to read.”

Sign-ups for the summer reading program continue at the public library or online at until August 4th.

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