Crane School kindergarten, first and second graders who read 10,000-plus pages for the Summer Reading Challenge enjoy lunch with head of school Joel Weiss, and Traci Cope, school librarian. (Courtesy photo)

At Crane Country Day School, the first weeks of school are cause for celebration as the school community — kindergarten through eighth grade students, staff and faculty — recognize their collective efforts to reach a summer reading goal of 1 million pages.

All community members are asked to read or listen to at least 1,000 pages of books over the summer. Some years the goal is not achieved, but this year saw a 19% increase over the year before, with a total of 1,190,514 pages read.

Tallying the total number of pages is exciting, and the possibility of earning unlimited book check-out privileges throughout the year, or a special lunch with head of school Joel Weiss for the students who each read more than 10,000 pages is a bonus.

But, the true reward of the challenge is to see the community work together and reap the benefits of reading choice.

Traci Cope, Crane School’s librarian, spearheads the project and creates an experience that is inviting for all reading levels and interests, and emphasizes joy and community-building. Cope provides all Crane School students with access to the school’s library over the summer, as well as free audiobook and electronic book options.

The tradition of summer reading at Crane School has adapted over the years to include changing technology, as well as incorporate findings from studies that show children who read for pleasure are more likely to excel in school in multiple subjects.

Crane’s transition years ago from assigning books to encouraging self-selected reading is in line with its mission to celebrate the joy in learning and one of the school’s core values, Find Joy in the Pursuit.

In a communication to Crane families, Cope said, “I am so very proud of our community of readers! Thank you, Crane families, for encouraging your students to read for pleasure! It makes a huge difference in their lives and in their schooling. You make it happen!”

Crane Country Day School serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade. For admission information, contact Erin Guerra, 805-969-7732 ext. 106 or visit