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'Dream Big' for Summer Reading in Bedford

Here's what you need to know about summer reading lists, games and what your local librarians recommend.

It's summertime and the reading is easy.

With less time on homework sheets, local youngsters and teens have more time for picture books, chapter books and many other types of reading.

Bedford Central Schools and Katonah Lewisboro Schools have posted summer reading lists on their websites, BCSD's includes activities and "literacy kits," here and K-L's recommended reading is here.

As they do each year, local libraries host summer reading games that make it fun for even the most reluctant readers to participate, including incentive prizes throughout the summer and an end of season party. This year's state theme is "Dream Big," and reminds young readers all they need "to take a trip," is a "page to flip."

In Bedford Hills, "Miss Kathy" visits local elementary schools to promote the game, which starts the week of June 25—stop in to sign up. In Bedford Village, the game began June 13 and goes through Aug. 6. You can still signup online. In addition the Young Adult room will be having a kick off on Monday, June 18 at 4 p.m. for grades 6 - 12. In Katonah, the game kicks off June 20 at 1 p.m. and features the magic and comedy of Jim Mclenahan. Sign up for the kickoff at 232-1233 or by emailing katcr@wlsmail.org.

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Patch asked Bedford's three children's librarians—Shodie Alcorn at the Stephanie Mandella at the and Vicki Kriegeskotte at the about summer reading and what some of their favorite memories were of lazing about with a book.

Patch: Why is summer an important time to visit the library and read?

Alcorn: Libraries can be a great place in the summer for all kinds of reasons. You can find Book Buddies to read with your children in the afternoon where it is nice and cool. If your children need some incentives to continue reading the stickers and raffles and ice cream offer opportunities. It's also a chance to learn something new such as knitting, or scrabble—we have a mini tournament—this summer. And storytimes are always a way to have fun with preschoolers.

Kriegeskotte: Studies have revealed how important it is for kids to avoid the "summer slide" by maintaining reading skills over the summer. Children learn, grow and develop both in and out of school. By encouraging successful reading experiences it will improve their voluntary interest in reading. Those that read more will improve their vocabulary and ultimately will write better. The summer is also the perfect time to allow kids to read just for pleasure and to choose whatever they want and enjoy. The public library is available to everyone and improved reading will only happen if children have access to books and to the library. Our cheerful librarians are ready to help encourage even the most reluctant readers.

Mandella: Numerous studies show that summer reading loss or "summer slide" is very real. And it is a cumualtive thing. If you don't read in the summer, you just don't play catch up in the fall. The kids who have read in the summer are moving ahead with their skills. The summer is a wonderful time to excercise that reading "muscle." It's a great opportunity to read not only what may be on a reading list, but to read what you really enjoy and to explore new authors or genres.

Patch: What's a summer reading memory you have - a book you lazed away a summer day on?

Alcorn: My memories of summers  at the library include that I could take as many books out as I wanted and, for a while, I lived in town and I was allowed to walk to the library by myself.  I always remember enjoying Dr. Seuss books, and The Little Engine That Could was a favorite book also. I was one of those who read as many Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy books as I could.

Kriegeskotte: I was a fan of animal stories and especially of horse stories.  I can still remember being glued to the story of Midnight Champion Bucking Horse written and illustrated by Sam Savitt.  I loved to draw and I think I was equally taken by the exciting black and white illustrations of this horse that no one could handle. They are beautifully drawn with a wild energy about them. I also loved, and still do, Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry with lovely illustrations by Wesley Dennis. I always imagined owning a pony. There is still time!

Mandella: I love to read series. In the summer I catch up on a series or start something new that has tickled my fancy. One summer I blew through the YA Fantasy series "The Song of the Lioness" by Tamora Pierce. The lead character is Alanna of Trebond. She struggles with her temper, stubborness, issues of gender, emotions/relationships, and her learning to accept and ultimately embrace her ability to do a certain type of magic. There are four books in the series. It's awesome.

For more information about summer reading and library programs, visit each branch's website.

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