BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Nearly 100 children gathered Tuesday evening in the yard next to the Bronxville Public Library. With their parents sitting leisurely on the grass, the children sang, danced and listened to stories during artist Lou del Bianco's performance, officially kicking off the library's 2011 Summer Reading Game.
The game is designed for children entering kindergarten through the fifth grade (with a "read-to-me" version for younger kids). This year's theme, "Travel Across the Globe," is Bronxville's own adaptation of the theme set by the New York State Library, "One World, Many Stories."
"In our case, we decided to be the world explorer," said Erin Schirota, 31, Bronxville library's head of youth services.
Weekly reading tasks, called the "Adventure Challenge," will consist of books from different parts of the world. Children who complete each of the tasks will receive a special reward. In the same line, they will watch movies and make crafts from all continents. Schirota provided some examples of the crafts: Canadian moose headbands, Japanese paper fans and Greek mosaics.
Six-year-old and Bronxville native Piper, who attended the show with her mother Tracy Gilliam, said she might be interested in books from Australia.
"My mom went to Australia last year. She brought me new Uggs," she said, referring to Australia's typical boots.
Also starting today is the teen summer program, "You are Here," for kids from grade 6 to 12.
More than 400 children, from Bronxville and nearby towns, participated in the 2010 game, Schirota said, adding that she expects to have the same success this year.
A great benefit of summer reading programs is to avoid what researchers call the "summer slide," according to a document published on the New York State Library website. The document presents studies showing that students can lose up to one month of instructions during the summer. The ones who participate in summer reading activities, however, return to school better prepared and more motivated to read.
How do you motivate your children to read during the summer? Tell us in comments below.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.