Several summer reading initiatives are underway in and around Rochester.
And getting some kids to enjoy reading can be a challenge.
Jeanne Steinbrenner, a children's librarian in Pittsford, says often times kids become frustrated by required reading in school. So she says the trick is to make opening a book fun.
Steinbrenner says that may mean introducing kids to comic books...
"They're short; they are visual,” Steinbrenner says. “Kids that respond to visuals cues just bloom when you give them that, and ‘hey, they're reading.’
Steinbrenner says students may not learn character development or how to develop the empathy part of reading; however, she says “they are honing their skills of reading."
Steinbrenner says this year the Pittsford Community Library's summer program includes 80 minutes a week of reading as well as solving word problems.
Studies show that if kids don't read during the summer break, it can take a month to catch them back up to speed come September. In an effort to help combat this, the Rochester City School District is giving away free ice cream cones, books, and baseball tickets to students who read throughout the summer.
"I'm calling on the community to help us in a very specific way to advance the educational progress of our children."
Vargas says they want parents to encourage their children to read at least 30-minutes everyday until school starts back up again.
The goal is to get 30-thousand city school kids cracking open books over the summer.
A students who voluntarily reads a book can attend the August 22nd game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs with an adult.
"I will be inviting every family in Rochester and every child to watch a baseball game with me," Vargas says. "And those that have read a book and talk with me about it, we are going to pay for the ticket."
Students who bring a completed RocRead form will receive a free book from the Rochester Educational Foundation, along with two free tickets to the game.
Also, as part of the summer reading program, students who are "caught reading" at a beach, on buses or any other public place will be rewarded with a coupon for a free Abbott's cone.
Vargas says they have many community partners making the program possible. Among them the Rochester business community and the United Way.
The program applies to students in pre-kindergarten through to the 12th grade.