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Summer reading a success


Aug. 20, 2012
Dream Big, READ has been an amazing summer reading program filled with so much fun and excitement. We've welcomed wonderful performers and community helpers. We've made awesome art, played great games, and met so many wonderful new friends. We want to say a huge thank you for making this program the best. Can you believe we had 1205 participants in the program? Can you imagine how many hours of reading were done? Well we'll tell you, it is over 14,000 hours.

All of this literacy would not have been possible had it not been for the cooperative spirit of so many in our wonderful community. Therefore, The East Longmeadow Library Children's Department would like to thank all of those in our community that helped us "grow readers" in this summer's reading program, Dream Big, READ.

Without the support of the 100 Junior Volunteers in grade five though high school this program would have been unmanageable for the staff we have in the Children's Department. These young community supporters are a testament to the strength and values of so many of our younger citizens. They each donated two hours a week during six weeks of the reading program. They encouraged the younger kids to join and read, and were amazing role models. For many this was their first foray into the "working world" and they responded positively, responsibly and enthusiastically.

Without the financial support of the community service organizations like the Friends of the East Longmeadow Library, who donated the raffle prizes, and the Meadows Masons, who funded most of the educational programs, the summer reading program would most assuredly have had much less bang and appeal! The business community also stepped up in a big way by providing incentive prizes to keep our young readers reading. Shaker Bowl donated a free string of bowling to every reader who registered for the program. Hans Olympic Tae Kwon Do donated a month of free lessons and also performed at the pizza party kick-off event; and Interskate 91 donated a free roller skating party to all those who read 10 hours or more. For those who read for 20 hours or more Fenway Golf donated a free round of miniature golf, The Texas Roadhouse donated a free kid's meal, and the Friends of the Library donated a free paperback book. PeoplesBank donated funds to bring award winning musicians Roger Tincknell and Davis Bates to East Longmeadow, Marna Shields of Busy Bees Nursery and Kindergarten donated a Let's Get Creative Bucket of Crafts Raffle Package, and the Meadowbrook Kindergarten Field Trip funded a Hasbro Games Package. These fine businesses and organizations deserve our support and gratitude.

We would especially like to express our appreciation to the librarians at Meadowbrook (Celeste O'Brien), Mapleshade (Deb Foley), and Mountainview (Lisa Galaska) elementary schools for the fine job they did helping to promote the reading program in their schools. Also the superintendent and the principals from those schools made sure parents knew the importance of having their children read over the summer. We know it will have a positive impact on their reading skills when they return to school in September. Their efforts really helped encourage their students to read this summer, as the numbers show. Mapleshade had 129 students in the program, Mountainview had 124, Meadowbrook had 238, and Birchland Park had 120, for a total of 611 students. In addition there were 119 children who were not in school yet, 345 from other schools, 83 in Preshool, and 47 who are homeschooled, for a grand total of 1205 paraticipants. Statewide the East Longmeadow Reading Program is among the top 12 busiest in the entire state of Massachusetts.

Most of all we'd like to thank all our participants for the wonderful summer of fun and activities that they took part in. They made the library an extremely interesting place to be. It made it especially rewarding to the entire children's staff because we love to "grow readers" and that certainly happened.

Take a look at our last slideshow of summer reading "Happily Ever After" by going to our Dream Big, READ blog at: http://elplkids.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/happily-ever-after.

We encourage you all to keep the reading habit.

Cynthia MacNaught,

children's librarian,

East Longmeadow Public Library

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