Reading challenges are a great way to engage patrons and encourage learners of all ages to read. Reading challenges vary from participating in a national summer reading challenge through the Collaborative Summer Library Program, utilizing reading challenge software like Beanstack or READSquared, or simply providing a list of books and activities to your patrons. To aid you in putting together any kind of reading challenge at your library, STAR Net has assembled a list of resources to help you integrate science readings and activities into your upcoming reading challenges! Check them out in the blog post below.

Readings for Librarians

  • Not sure where to get started? This toolkit created by the National Education Association contains research on the importance of summer reading programs as well as resources for engaging learners and building summer reading and learning challenges.
  • The COVID-19 crisis continues to have a huge effect on library programming. Feeling like you might need to do a virtual or hybrid reading challenge this year? This open-access article from the South Carolina Libraries Journal describes how Union County Libraries created their own virtual summer reading challenge in conjunction with the 2020 Collaborative Summer Library Program.

Book Options

  • The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is set to launch and send back first images over the course of the next year. Whether you’re planning programming around these momentous events using the Look Up! STEAM Activity Toolkit or just looking to add more science books to reading challenges at your library, the Look Up! Explore Our Universe Book List is a great starting point to find books on space science for patrons of all ages.
  • Need more science book options? Each activity on STAR Net’s STEM Activity Clearinghouse includes links to books related to that activity on the WorldCat database.

Additional Activities and Resources

Including crafts, projects, videos, and articles in your reading challenge can be a great way to let patrons earn additional badges through activities other than reading books. The following activities explore the science behind the launch and mission of JWST and are ready for you to copy and paste in English and/or Spanish into whatever reading challenge you’re developing!

Video Resources

Articles and Explainers

Online Activities and Games     

Offline Projects and Crafts


Get Outside and Explore

  • You don’t need a telescope to study space. Go outside this month and find the constellation Orion. The nebula in Orion’s belt is a baby star nursery.
    No necesitas un telescopio para estudiar el espacio. Sal este mes y encuentra la constelación de Orión. La nebulosa en el cinturón de Orión es una guardería de estrellas bebés.
  • Light from the sun can get in our way when we’re studying space, but there’s one astronomical object besides the sun that you can still see in the day: the moon! This site will show you the current moon phase. If it’s at the first or last quarter phase, you can see it during the day! Scroll to the bottom of the page to make your own moon chart to predict when you’ll see a daytime moon.
    La luz del sol puede interponerse en nuestro camino cuando estamos estudiando el espacio, pero hay un objeto astronómico además del sol que todavía se puede ver durante el día: ¡la luna! Este sitio le mostrará la fase lunar actual. Si está en la fase del primer o rimes rimester, ¡puedes verlo durante el día! Desplácese hasta la parte inferior de la página para hacer su propia carta lunar y predecir cuándo verá una luna durante el día.


To find more information and resources for your library about the JWST mission, check out the Look Up! Explore Our Universe page on the STAR Net website and the Look Up! Explore Our Universe collection on STAR Net’s STEM Activity Clearinghouse.