Library’s summer program celebrates reading with a splash

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Memorial Library Summer Reading program concluded with an award event for the successful participants held at Harmon Field and concluded with a swimming party at the George C. Brown Community Pool on Wednesday.

There were about 140 kids registered for the program this year, said Coral Ellshoff, Punxsutawney Memorial Library Director.

She said there were 110 kids who reached the goal of reading 10 books over the summer from June 1 to Aug. 1.

"Some parents will read to their kids five books per day," Ellshoff said, adding that they'll read three books before they go to bed; they have a routine of reading.

Ellshoff said Jordan Barenchik, age 4, read 110 picture books with his mom.

"If you just put your mind to it, and you're reading three or four books per day all summer long, it adds up pretty quickly," Ellshoff said.

She said each reader that reached the goal received a certificate and prize bags which included: toys, books, chalk and pencils.

The tweens received dental packs among other prizes, and the teens received iTunes gift cards.

Ellshoff said for completing five books, a teen received a $5 give card for iTunes, which was donated by the Friends of the Library.

The teens read larger books, and the quota was lower to read, she said.

Jennifer Soliday, Punxsutawney Memorial Library Youth Services Coordinator, said some of the teens did read adult-size books, but had a lower quota of five books because those are much larger than the books that the younger members had to read.

Soliday said the teens also had to write a review of the book while the younger readers, ages birth to 12 years of age, were required to log the books that they read.

The top readers from each group were: Elementary students, Emily and Nick Wisnesky — 57 books each; Tweens, Julianna Shaffer — 32 books; and Wee Ones, Jordan Barenchik — 110 books. The top readers received gift certificates from the Jefferson County Library System, Ellshoff said, adding that some of the top readers received bowling tokens, restaurant certificates and four tickets for an Altoona Curve baseball game.

Ellshoff said the books the library handed out to successful readers were donated by various groups and organizations.

The LEARN program donated prizes for the drawings; unfortunately, though, it is no longer funded by the state, she said.

Ellshoff thanked the helpers for each age group: Donna Kengersky, birth to three; Janelle Miller, three to five; Jeanie Curtis, elementary to age 11; Ellshoff and Soliday oversaw the tweens; and Jane Parente, the teens.

Following the program, all of the successful readers were treated to an afternoon of fun at the George C. Brown Community Pool.

Soliday said the library is going to be setting up programs for the preschools to pick a morning to come in for story time and a craft.

"We want to get together with the elementary schools to hold a Tail Waggers Tutors and have the children read out loud to therapy dogs," Soliday said.