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Pel Bay kids recognized for summer reading

On Friday, August 20, young Pelham Bay readers were rewarded for a summer of hard work and learning.

About 40 children between the ages of 3 to 14 were honored for participating in the city’s 2010 Summer Reading program with certificates and gift bags filled with goodies. Councilman Jimmy Vacca and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto were on hand to pass out the special certificates.

“My favorite book was one about dinosaurs,” said Eliel Quinones after he received his certificate. “It teaches you about the skeletons of the dinosaurs and about how big they are.”

Eliel, who will be entering pre-K when the school year kicks off in September, participated in the program with his sister Daliana, who read about 50 books.

According to Daly, their mother, the children read classics like “Where The Wild Things Are”, and “The Cat in the Hat”, but their favorites were the bible stories of Moses and Noah.

While only 40 came to the event to receive recognition for reading, nearly 600 children signed up for the program.

To be recognized, children simply needed to keep a log of the books they read during the summer.

Although there was no minimum number of books that needed to be read, and no required titles, one participant read about 120 books.

At the event, each child was also automatically entered into a raffle for tickets to a NY Yankees game, and two drawings for gift certificates. “It’s not merit-based like in school or anything. It’s just to show the children that their efforts to continue learning throughout the summer were appreciated,” said Debra Acosta, director of the library branch.

She said the library has been involved with the program for about 10 years, and participation has increased each summer. Last year about 400 signed up, she said.

“Summer is an important time with families, but many might not keep up with their reading so this keeps them engaged,” Vacca said.

Benedetto agreed.

“We realize the importance that reading has for these kids and the more you can engage them, the better,” he said. “Not only is it a great activity for families, it helps fight the summer lag.”

However, no matter how much reading siblings Frank, Michael and Amanda Schultz did to prepare for the school year, they were not excited about getting back to class next month.

“No,” said Michael, who read 45 books. “Definitely not.”

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