By Steven Goodstein
State Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) has partnered with Queens Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott to launch the lawmaker’s fourth annual Summer Reading Challenge at the Lefferts Library Branch located at 103-34 Lefferts Blvd. in Jamaica.
The summer reading program, which started July 11, encourages all students within Assembly District 24, which includes portions of Glen Oaks, Oakland Gardens, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills and Hillcrest, to participate in reading while school is out of session during the summer months.
To complete the challenge, children are required to read for at least 15 minutes each day for 40 days during the summer break.
Students who complete the reading challenge can check off the dates on a special calendar that can be obtained either at Weprin’s office or any library that serves District 24, including Queens Library at Briarwood, Queens Library Center and Queens Library at Hillcrest.
Once students complete the Summer Reading Challenge, the students can return the calendars to Weprin’s office, where they will receive an Excellence in Reading Certificate award.
The certificate congratulates the participant and says Weprin recognizes their hard work and dedication. The theme for this year’s program is “Libraries Rock!”
“This program is a great way for students to stay sharp during the summer while our local libraries provide excellent free resources for students to stay mentally and academically engaged,” said Weprin, who has been promoting the summer reading challenge since 2015 and collaborated with Queens Library’s Hollis Library branch in 2016 .
“This challenge is only part of a larger effort to promote community literacy by a consortium of libraries across the country, ” he said.
Weprin has been a major supporter of New York’s public school system and has advocated for increased funding and aid throughout his career as an assemblyman, as well as when he was a finance committee chairman from 2002-2009 in the City Council. In total, Weprin helped allocate $26.6 billion for education funding in the current budget.
The assemblyman also encourages students to visit their local libraries – not just to borrow books but to also utilize and take advantage of the services these libraries provide, such as Internet access, educational programs and more.
The New York State Library has held a summer reading program for 26 years. In 2007, New York joined the Collaborative Summer Library Program, a national consortium of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories, with the mission to empower libraries to foster their communities.
The Collaborative Summer Library Program develops the theme and materials for the summer reading challenge. The New York State Library works with local library systems to share the materials and implement a strategy to promote summer reading.
“Studies show that the academic skills of children and teens can erode significantly during their summer vacations if they don’t stay engaged in learning,” said Walcott, Queens Library’s president since 2016.
“This reading challenge will held young people continue to flourish while they are on break and will be a great fit with all of the special programs and events that our libraries offer doing the summer months,” Walcott added.
Reach Steven Goodstein by e-mail at sgood