When students get a three-month reprieve from school work, it can be easy to let learning fall by the wayside. Advocates say summer reading keeps young minds sharp, and the Buffalo Central Library’s reading programs hope to motivate kids to become life-long learners.
Library Director Mary Jean Jakubowski spoke Wednesday at a kick-off event that showcased a variety of summer reading activities.
"Reading is really critical from the educational standpoint and to continue to have growth of vocabulary, brain growth, there’s bonding aspects formed from a family perspective. So we really want to make a big deal that reading is fun and reading is something that we all can enjoy and we can enjoy it by ourselves or we can enjoy it together," Jakubowski said.
During the event in the Central Library, Bennett Park Montessori School students were introduced to some of the planned reading activities. Youngsters will be given incentives to read, prizes will be offered, overdue library fines will be waived and games will be staged. Library leaders are hoping to breed a love of reading, whether it's on a screen or on old-fashioned paper.
"Reading is something we do every day whether it be through a technology source or it be in a physical book and the studies are now showing is that we are almost swinging the opposite direction. People are turning back to the traditional book. They want to hold that book in their hands. Technology continues to advance and frankly, reading is reading is reading," Jakubowski added.
Some of the students' favorite stories? Books about Benjamin Franklin and Olaf from the movie Frozen. Third-grader Hannah Curr had to work a little to get her nose into a book.
"I started reading when I first got into school. I remember the whole week I had to learn how to write my name just so I could check out books out of the library," she said.
One way the library is promoting reading is through a new reading app called Open eBooks. Students can download free books for up to eight weeks. The library is also hosting many events throughout the summer such as Battle of the Books, Canalside’s “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” and Mayor Byron Brown’s Reading Rules Summer Challenge.