Summer offers children the opportunity to break away from the grind of school and books. However, some children in Hoboken have chosen to continue their reading into the summer time. On Aug. 26, young readers from the city gathered at the Hoboken Public Library to celebrate their reading achievements.
“We had 124 [children] that joined this year, which is up from 23 who signed up last year,” said Lois Gross, the senior children’s librarian. “Seventy four reported the time they read, and all together there were 1,297 hours of reading.”
The “Make a Splash! Read!” program saw a dramatic increase in attendance this year, as the library offered incentives such as movie tickets donated by Clearview Cinemas for top readers. Gross said the library reached out to schools to promote the program this year.
“We are all about reading and helping kids stay connected with the library.” – Lina Podles, library director
With colorful balloons strewn throughout the building, and ice cream and cake being served to the children, the mood in the library was festive.
“The kids read whenever they could, whenever they wanted to read,” Gross said.
Celia Malba, 7, took part in the summer reading program, and said her favorite book from the summer is “If You Give a Pig a Pancake.”
Tomek Botwicz, also 7, is entering the second grade this year, and named his favorite book as “Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.”
Grace Cui, 6, is beginning the first grade this September, and she enjoyed the “Jack and Annie” books.
In addition to the summer reading program, the Hoboken Public Library also offers children and their families other opportunities to take part in reading throughout the course of the year.
In the fall, Gross will run a course teaching the children how to write movie reviews and will have participants act as film critics.
“My favorite activity is when we bring in two therapy dogs,” Gross said. “The dogs come in and the kids practice reading to them.”
The library will also offer Saturday programs this fall to cater to working parents, offering families the opportunity to bring children in on the weekends.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer attended the event to personally congratulate the children on their reading accomplishments for the summer.
Lina Podles is the library director at the Hoboken Public Library.
“What really touched my heart was when a parent came up to me just now and said that they used the summer reading time for their child as a time for the family to come together,” Podles said. “They all came together for a half hour to read together.”
Podles sees part of her job as a way to help children develop a reading habit at a young age.
“We are all about reading and helping kids stay connected with the library,” Podles said. “And studies show that kids who read in the summer will do better in school than those who do not.”