Summer Vacation – Enjoy Break From Classroom – But Not From The Books!

By Senator Patty Ritchie

Ah, the end of the school year. As a mother, late June brings back memories of antsy kids who are ready to get out of the classroom, and away from the homework, studying and tests.

But, in my household, there was one thing my kids weren’t going to get away from on their summer vacation: reading. (I still bring a book home to my grandson every week!)

I know how important it is for kids to keep their skills honed and their minds sharp during the summer.  That’s why I’m sponsoring the New York State Senate Summer Reading Program—a partnership with the New York State Library, and libraries in our community.

The Senate Summer Reading Program encourages students in 4th to 6th grades to read during their summer vacation. Students interested in participating can visit to register.

After registering, students will be able to access appropriate reading lists, an online reading journal to help keep track of the books they read during their summer vacation and plenty of other resources, activities and games. Students who submit a completed journal at the end of the summer will receive a certificate, congratulating them for hitting the books.

More importantly, they will have opened their minds to new worlds and new experiences they might not even have dreamed about.

At, you’ll also find a listing of the more than 50 public libraries in our area. Libraries are a great resource for everything from checking out a new bestseller or researching a topic you’d like to know more about.

And there’s good news when it comes to local libraries: they’re only going to get better.  As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Libraries, I made sure our region’s libraries weren’t overlooked in the state budget, securing a well deserved increase in state funding.

The Senate’s Summer Reading Program is a great way to help children develop a love of reading that will last through not only this summer, but over the rest of their lives.

Here’s hoping that you and your children’s summers are filled with beaches, barbecues and, of course, plenty of books!