Chautauqua Institution is a community that values and celebrates reading, and since 1994, the CLSC Young Readers program has engaged young Chautauquans and community members in the enjoyment of good reading. Each summer, a selection of books are chosen for their quality, the variety of their styles and subjects, and their appeal to young readers. While aimed at 9- to 14-year-olds, these books will also delight younger and older readers.
In addition to reading the summer's selections, youth are invited to attend the related weekly program, usually held at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesdays throughout the Chautauqua season. The program includes a brief book discussion followed by a presentation or activity led by community leaders, local organizations, and sometimes even the authors themselves.
While the most important feature of the Young Readers program is reading, all levels of participation are important and are encouraged — from reading only one of the selections to reading them all. The weekly programs are open to all youth, and reading the week's selection is encouraged but not required for attendance.
The Young Readers medallion rewards young Chautauquans who read 16 books from the program's historic book list, including Jeffrey Simpson's Chautauqua: An American Utopia. The medallion is made possible by the John H. Bliss Memorial Fund and the support of the CLSC Class of 2002.