Summer Reading Programs on Long Island

Written by Amy Gernon  |  11. June 2012


As the school year draws to a close, Long Island students are looking forward to nearly two months without homework.  At the same time, parents are searching for ways to keep their kids off the XBox and engaged with some great books.  Fortunately, there are plenty of summer reading programs offering a handful of incentives that may be just what it takes to keep your kids’ eyes in a book when far more exciting activities are calling their names. 
Assemblyman Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue) has announced the kick-off of his annual “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” program, which connects young people with summer reading lists and programs offered at local programs.  “My annual reading challenge makes reading fun, and is something parents can do with their kids, not only as a great way to spend time together, but as a way to ensure that their children are better prepared for school in September.  To sign up, go to your local library and ask for the enrollment form, or call my office at 631-207-0073,” Murray said about the program with works in coordination with the New York State Library, as well as the State Assembly and Senate.  At the end of summer, participants receive a formal certificate.  Last year, over 1.65 million young New Yorkers took part in the program.
Commission of Education, John B. King, added to Murray’s sentiment, saying, “Summer reading programs provided at public libraries throughout the state – supported by the State Library in conjunction with our partners in the State Assembly and Senate – give children great tools to stay academically sharp for school in the fall.” In order to help families get the ball rolling with summer reading iniatives, the State has set up this website with activities, games and ideas to keep reading exciting all summer long.   http://summerreadingnys.org  At the end of summer, participants in the Summer Reading at New York Libraries program receive a formal certificate.  Last year, over 1.65 million young New Yorkers took part in the program.
And that’s just one reading program available to New Yorkers this summer.
Ok, so maybe a certificate isn’t super enticing.  How about breaking a world record?  The Scholastic Summer Challenge puts kids to the task of logging their daily reading minutes to become eligible to win some awesome prizes.  Last summer, students around the world clocked in 64 million reading minutes (over a million hours), and this year, Scholastic is looking to set the bar even higher.  The 20 schools with the most reading minutes will be featured in 2013 Scholastic Book of World Records, and according to Scholastic, over 6 million minutes have already been clocked in.
Some local businesses are taking part in the summer reading boost as well.  TD Bank will deposit $10 into a new or existing account for any child who reads 10 books this summer.  This program is running from May 5 through September 29, and participants must be 18 years or younger to participate.  Check out your local TD branch for sign up information.
Chuck E. Cheese is also incentivizing summer reading, and taking it one step further.  Kids can get rewards for more than just reading books.  Check out Chuck E. Cheese’s website for printable calendars that challenge your kids to break all their bad habits, from messy rooms to nose picking!  Bring in calendars with progress marked off for the opportunity to pick up free game tokens for the arcade.  
Maybe your child will get the reading bug by finding out that they can actually give back by picking up a book.  American Girl’s Read-a-palooza will donate $1 for every book purchased through American Girl from May 1 through September 3, up to $100,000, to the Save The Children’s U.S. Literacy Program.  Young readers can find all sorts of reading companions at the American Girl website to help make their summer reading even more exciting.  
Whatever summer reading program you choose to participate it, or even if you decide to create your own summer reading booklist for you and your child, it’s going to beat spending the next two months playing video games and chowing down on hot dogs and ice cream.  Check out local reading programs and find the one that works best for your family, and when September finally arrives, you are bound to see the impact on your child’s improved reading abilities. 
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