PHOTO: Assemblyman Goldfeder presents Certificates of Merit to students at JHS 202 in Ozone Park last November as part of his annual Summer Reading Challenge. Courtesy of Assemblyman Goldfeder’s Office
By Forum Staff
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) on Monday, the first day of summer, officially kicked off his annual Summer Reading Challenge with the delivery of 20,000 pamphlets to nearly 40 schools across southern Queens and Rockaway.
The contest, Goldfeder said, encourages students to read at least 15 minutes a day for at least 40 days during the months of July and August. Students are given special pamphlets containing suggested reading lists compiled by the State Library and a calendar to mark their progress. Once finished, students can return the pamphlets to their school or mail them to Goldfeder’s office.
This year, the District 23 assemblyman reported receiving requests for more than 20,000 pamphlets for some schools.
Goldfeder’s staff is in the process of delivering the pamphlets – and special commemorative summer reading bookmarks for students, and posters advertising the Challenge – to the schools.
“Few things can do as much to spark a child’s imagination and unlock their full potential as a good book,” said Goldfeder. “I’m excited to once again bring my Summer Reading Challenge to our students and encourage their passion for reading. This will help make reading a part of their daily routine over these long summer months and better prepare them for the next school year.”
Students that complete the Challenge receive a signed Assembly Certificate of Merit from Goldfeder in the fall. In recent years, Goldfeder noted that he has sent certificates as far away as Seattle, where young Jack and Penelope Larkin were encouraged to participate in the program by their grandmother, Barbara, a member of the Belle Harbor Property Owners Association.
“The opportunity to read and expand horizons that Assemblyman Goldfeder provides not just to area schools, but to all children in the community is something really special,” Larkin said. “Children lose valuable skills over the summer months. As a former teacher and concerned grandmother, I think it is fantastic that the Assemblyman encourages our children to make reading a part of their summer vacation.”
Every year, Goldfeder said, he makes a point to visit each participating school and personally present students with their certificates.
“As parents of three young children, my wife and I work hard to encourage our children and stress the importance of reading,” he added. “Our youngest may just be a few months old, but I’m already looking forward to the day when he can join his big brother and sister in the Summer Reading Challenge.”