Libraries make reading ‘Funtastic’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 21, 2005

In or out of school, Isaac Collins spends most of his time over books.

&uot;I read 151 books when I was in school last year,&uot; said the nine-year-old Mack Benn Elementary School student. &uot;I like the pictures – they’re so cool. I read ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ before I saw the movie.&uot;

Since school got out, he’s been one of the nearly 1,000 Suffolk youngsters to take part in the &uot;Funtastic Reading&uot; program at local libraries. Children can sign up at Morgan Memorial Library, Bennetts Creek Library, Chuckatuck Library, East Suffolk Library Station and the Suffolk Bookmobile for the free course, which lasts until Aug. 13.

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&uot;We love to push reading so the kids can continue their success in reading over the summer months,&uot; said Morgan children’s librarian Cathy Scott. The program began in the early 1980s, when Morgan was located on Bosley Avenue, the current home of the Suffolk Museum.

&uot;We encourage them to read on their grade level to help them when they go back to school. When they read 10 books, they get a prize.&uot;

That’s typically a bag of small surprises. Subway and McDonald’s typically donate hundreds of coupons to the library every summer, and the non-profit organization Friends of the Library donates money for prizes and programs.

Each library holds special events every week. Morgan is holding events at 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays until Aug. 10 (the Activated Storytellers will be coming to visit today, and juggler/magician Jonathan Austin will be performing Friday). Chuckatuck puts on shows at 11 a.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, while East Suffolk holds shows at 11 a.m. Thursdays and Bennetts Creek at 10 a.m. Wednesdays.

&uot;If the kids come for the programs,&uot; Scott said, &uot;they take home books when they leave. We don’t push the number of books for children to read; we want them to take time out to read and still have time to go swimming and to the movies.&uot;

Isaac’s already made his way through eight literary tomes this summer.

&uot;I come here about every two weeks,&uot; he said, pulling up a book. &uot;Reading’s fun, because you can get surprises if you read enough.&uot;