More than 400 children completed the summer reading program requirements at the Henry Waldinger Memorial Library, and were invited to a pair of special activities last week as a reward.
â€śThis is definitely one of our best years, if not the best,â€ť childrenâ€™s librarian Jaclyn Kunz said about the amount of participation. â€śThere was a lot of enthusiasm.â€ť
On Aug. 21, children from birth through kindergarten age were invited to a program with singer Darlene Graham. She performed numerous songs for the kids based on this yearâ€™s summer reading club theme, â€śDream Big, Read.â€ť
The following day, magician and juggler Lou Johnson, a Valley Stream resident himself, entertained children in grades 1-6. Johnson told children how he has used books to learn some of the very magic tricks they saw him perform.
Children had to read or share a certain number of books to be eligible to attend the two shows. Parents had to read 18 books to their littlest ones, while students in kindergarten through second grade had to read along to 12 books.
For older children, they had to independently read six books on their grade level. Kunz said the kids received incentive prizes throughout the summer for their reading such as stickers, pencils and buttons.
Julia Cala, 11, a student at the Wheeler Avenue School, completed her six books and her favorite was â€śThe Cats in the Doll Shop.â€ť
â€śReading is magic,â€ť she said. â€śItâ€™s a great thing to know how to do.â€ť
She attended Johnsonâ€™s show and said it taught her how to use her imagination, especially his final act in which he used hula hoops.
Fellow Wheeler Avenue student Adam Khaldun, 7, said he completed about 20 books this summer. His favorite was â€śThe Avengersâ€ť but he also likes the â€śDiary of Wimpy Kidâ€ť series.
â€śIt helps with your brain,â€ť he said of reading. â€śIf you donâ€™t have a book, you wonâ€™t get a lot of education.â€ť
The Junie B. Jones book series by Barbara Park was a popular choice among children this summer including 7-year-old Victoria Andreo, who attends the James A. Dever School. She said she read 40 books this summer, about two dozen more than what was required.
Marissa Nardone, 7, a Dever student, completed about 20 books including â€śJunie B. Jones is a Party Animal.â€ť She said she read about a half-hour each night before bed, and really enjoyed sharing books with her parents. â€śI like to read,â€ť she said. â€śI like to imagine about things in my mind.â€ť
Junie B. Jones is a also a favorite of 7-year-old Samantha Altieri, but she said the best book she read this summer was â€śBarbie the Class Act.â€ť
Kunz said that other popular book series included â€śBig Nateâ€ť and â€śGoddess Girls.â€ť She said the library orders a lot of new books at the beginning of the summer, based on school reading lists and what is popular among children. â€śThe summer is the busiest time,â€ť she said.
The library also offered a summer reading club for teens in grades 7-12, who had to complete three full-length books. Library Director Mamie Eng said that 72 of the 117 teens who signed up for the program met the requirement. â€śThatâ€™s higher than normal,â€ť she said. â€śWeâ€™ve had more start, but not as many finish. Itâ€™s a great percentage.â€ť
Teens who read three books were rewarded with a mini-golf outing at Hendrickson Park last Friday evening.