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SPL summer reading program nearly doubles its goal

By Staff | Jul 29, 2011

PHOTO BY SHANNEN HAYES The Sanibel Public Library presents a card showing 437 books will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida through the library’s summer reading program "Reading for Others." Representatives from the hospital, second from left, Caroline Poole, child life specialist, and Tom Mango, hospital schoolteacher, stand with SPL Executive Director Margaret Mohundro (far left); Tom Karekel, vice-chairman of the library board; Linda Uhler, chairman of the library board; and "Miss Barb" Dunkle (far right). Kneeling, from left, are Elizabeth Meardon, Marne and Kathryn Kortegast.

The Sanibel Public Library nearly doubled its goal of 250 books for its summer reading program titled “Reading for Others.” Designed for children, ‘tweens and teens of Sanibel, the program encourages reading throughout the summer break.

This year, the children read for the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and for every five hours they read, the kids earned a book for themselves and one for the children’s hospital. With 138 kids signed up, they have read a total of 1,015 hours to date. They will be able to read until the end of July, but have already earned 437 books including 10 books donated by Sanibel author Karen Kirk Richard who penned “Lovey the Piano Cat” — for the hospital.

“I never imagined it would be that many books,” said Tom Mango, a Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida schoolteacher. “When we tell kids in the hospital they can keep a book, they are so delighted by the gesture.”

The summer reading program also offers a reading challenge. This is for children through fifth grade. They are given a chart of different activities to complete all dealing with reading. Once completed, they get points. When 15 points are earned, a book selected by the child for themselves and one of the children’s hospital. To date, kids reading for the challenge have earned 132 books, with two students already completing the challenge and several right behind them.

Each child can become a Marathon Reader. Children up to second grade need to read 25 hours during the seven-week program; third through fifth graders need to read 50 hours. So far, four children have became Marathon Readers.

The Sanibel Public Library Foundation, Inc. underwrites the summer reading program.