It’s BACK! Today, the National Aquarium, in partnership with the Enoch Pratt Free Library, celebrates the return of Read to Reef, an award-winning program that connects Baltimore students’ love of reading with the world’s aquatic treasures. 

Beginning October 1, 2021, Baltimore-area children in fifth grade and younger with a Pratt Library card can receive a special bookmark from their local Pratt Library (supplies are limited). Participants may request bookmarks until October 31. After reading any five aquatic or conservation-themed books, students can enter the code on the bookmark through the Aquarium’s online ticketing portal to make a reservation and receive free admission (up to four guests) through January 17, 2022.

The fall 2021 Read to Reef booklist includes titles suitable for children of all reading levels—from children who have not yet learned to read to older students looking to learn more about the wonders of our blue planet—this list has something for everyone. Notably, the list also features titles from local authors including DC-based author Deborah Lee Rose, Eastern Shore native Randi Sonenshine and Annapolis author Jennifer Keats Curtis.

“Books can unlock a world of possibilities for children and their families, and the Read to Reef book club is a great way for them to discover an interest in learning about the ocean and environment,” said National Aquarium Community Programs Manager Sarah Doccolo. “This year, participants can read stories about different habitats from all over the world, as well as animals they can see right here in Maryland. After reading titles from local and international authors, students can bring their families to the Aquarium to see the animals and exhibits in person, while learning new ways to love and protect them. We are proud to offer local students the chance to explore their hometown Aquarium where we hope to inspire them as the next generation of hopeful conservationists.”

Read to Reef

“We’re so thrilled to, once again, partner with the National Aquarium on this special program for Baltimore children,” says Pratt Library CEO Heidi Daniel. “This book club helps instill the love of learning in our youngest customers and opens a whole new world to them as they get to experience what they’ve read about in books.”

Since the program’s inception in 2016, 13,281 Baltimore-area students have read more than 66,405 books. Each of these students earned a trip to explore the Aquarium free of charge with their families, totaling 47,563 tickets to the Aquarium.



Editor’s Note: This article is compiled from a press release from the National Aquarium.