This summer on Wednesdays in July from 11:30-12:30pm students can get free books thanks to the Family Reading Partnership’s Summer Reading at the Park project. Volunteers are at the park handing out donated books that students can borrow to read at home. The Randall Elementary School field and playground was busy with parents pushing strollers and school-age children browsing the available books and accessing the Summer Lunch Program.
Each week students are welcome to come back to borrow more books. This is the first year of the project and it’s off to a great start. Young readers took home more than 130 books in the third week of the program, which easily topped the 85 books checked out during the second week of the program.
“I like reading because I get to learn pretty cool new words and new things,” said Kurtis Smith. Smith is a student at Smith Elementary School that has been coming to Randall Park this summer to utilize the lunch and reading programs. “If I can get free books it makes it easier to read over the summer and read to my 5 year old cousin,” Smith explained.
The mission of the Family Reading Partnership of Cortland County is to encourage pleasurable family literacy experiences from birth and to provide children in the community with access to books. Volunteers such as Cortland teachers, Michelle Ryan and Christina Caravella and two of Caravella’s daughters, Lucia and Lavinia, have been helping out this summer. “I love the fact that students are taking books to read to their siblings and parents,” Christina Caravella said. “Part of the reason I have been volunteering is that I believe that every kid should have access to books at home. Books have been donated by many local families, teachers in our district, and even as far away as Long Island.”
Other Family Reading Partnership programs include: Books at Birth, Welcome to School, Bright Red Bookshelf, Give the Gift of Family Reading, and Fireside Readings. The final date scheduled for the program is Wednesday, July 26, so make sure you head down to Randall School Park to get some books to complete your summer reading list!