Incentives And Free Activities Planned To Keep Kids Reading Over The Summer

Jun 8, 2015

Author Keshawn Dodds, dressed as Menzuo, the superhero in his books, speaks to children at the kickoff of a summer reading initiative. Looking on are Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Jean Canosa Albano of the Springfield City Library.
Credit WAMC

Officials in Springfield, Massachusetts today announced a summer reading program they hope will entice children to keep learning after school lets out.

The launch of Springfield’s Summer Reading Club included an endangered Fishing Cat from the city’s Forest Park Zoo, a local author dressed as his costume superhero, and top readers from a fifth-grade class at the Milton Bradley Elementary school, who created a cheer for summer reading.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Superintendent of Schools Dan Warwick were also on hand to praise the close working relationship between the city’s public schools and the Springfield City Library, which will run the city reading club at each library branch June 22-Aug. 29.

The reading club is free and is open to children, teenagers, and adults with age-specific programs and incentives.

Warwick said there is a well-documented learning loss that occurs if children don’t keep reading during the summer when they are not in school.

" The key to success is reading," he said.

Jean Canosa Albano, Manager of Public Services at Springfield City Library, said the theme for the summer reading club is “Every Hero Has a Story.”

" Any type of hero, discovering a hero within yourself or in the pages of a book," she said.

Children and adults can get prizes by reading books, comics, and magazines, exploring topics online, visiting museums, and other activities.  Incentives include a rollerskating party, tickets to the Big E or Boston Bruins, and an invitation to an end-of-summer party at the Zoo in Forest Park.

" The biggest and best prizes, we think, will be books," said Albano. " Children keep the books in their own home library. Some like to swap them with friends. We want to keep that going."

Albano said they hope to enroll 2,000 children in the reading club.

Author Keshawn Dodds, who came to the kickoff dressed as Menzuo, the superhero in a series of six books, said he’ll present a trophy to the Springfield school where children read the most books this summer.

Information about the summer reading club is available at each library branch in Springfield and the city library website.