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A History Of The Summer Read

from The Village Voice

10 Things You Should Know About Summer Reading

By Victoria Bekiempis

Summer reading is as beloved a seasonal tradition as splashing in broken fire hydrants, playing on sidewalk slip-and-slides, barbecuing on fire escapes, and watching Fourth of July fireworks from a tenement rooftop. Teachers and librarians say the practice is integral in preventing what’s called “summer slide” — when kids experience educational setbacks because of the three-month break from school.

In New York, summer reading programs have been in place for many years, historically organized by individual library branches. The first centralized book list, however, was released by the city in 1995, H. Jack Martin, New York Public Library’s assistant director for public programs, tells the Voice.

That has since evolved into a website, There, children can find age level-appropriate book info, as well as sharing reading lists and creating avatars. Today, more than 300,000 city kids have registered.

But what’s the backstory of summer reading, you might ask? Well, here are 10 fast facts.

10. Ohio Is for Book Lovers

The first summer reading program, which dates back to 1895, started in Cleveland. At the time, a woman by the name of Linda Eastman made a “best books in the library suitable for children” list and sent it to schools in June.

9.What a Prize!

The first rewards system in summer reading programs is said to have begun in 1900, when kids’ library clubs in Wisconsin gave kids certificates read all the books on a list.

8. All Paths Lead to Long Island

Looks like New York’s first key summer reading developments took place in Long Island. In 1914, the program featured weekly talks pertaining to the summer reading club’s programming. Then, Binghamton was one of the first library systems to advocate neighborhood outreach. Librarians upstate would visit area playgrounds, telling stories and sharing books.

[ click to continue reading at The Village Voice ]

Posted on July 5, 2012 by Editor

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