MONTVILLE, NJ – The 2018 summer reading program kicked off at the Montville Township Public Library on June 23 as kids signed up to receive prizes for their time spent enjoying a book.

This year’s theme is “Libraries Rock!”, and so with the help of a grant from the Montville Township Garden Club, the kids painted rocks which will make up a rock garden in front of the library. There were also face painters creating art on the kids – or on the arms of the boys – and refreshments.

Peter, 4, and Noel, 6, were painting their rocks after Noel had a rocket ship painted on his arm. Peter was very much enjoying some donuts, said his mom, Rim, after having a monster truck and a ghost painted on his arm. The kids are going to enjoy reading Spiderman and Batman books over the summer, she said.

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“Something exciting!” she said.

Yahya, age four, had a snake painted on his arm, and his mom said that he was going to read books about puppies.

“I can’t go walking without him going up to every dog,” she said with a laugh.

As he and his older brother Zakariyya, age 5 1/2, painted rocks, Zakariyya showed off his Spiderman arm painting. Their mom said Zakariyya will be reading Dan Gutman, Mo Willems, and Dan Yacciarno, who just visited Zakariyya’s school.

“They’re easy reads,” she said. “They get them excited about reading and my goal is to get him reading by himself.”

Yahya will be “copying his older brother,” she said with a laugh.

Kaylee and Amy, both age 10, said that they’ll be reading Rick Rhiordan’s “Heroes of Olympus” series, from the author who wrote the Percy Jackson books. They said they had seen the first “Percy” movie.

Kids & Families Programs Associate Amy Resnikoff said the kids will get dog tags that hold beads. Kids will get a bead for every hour they read, then a gold bead for every 10 hours of reading. Every week for coupons donated by Chipotle, Dunkin’ Donuts of Pine Brook, Gencarelli’s, Montville Diner, Red Barn Restaurant, Scoops of Boonton and Tuscany Village. Further, one reader per week will win a raffle prize such as a pass to the Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and Liberty Science Center.

By the end of third grade, children who participated in their public library’s summer reading program have better reading scores than those who did not participate, according to the New Jersey Summer Reading Committee, sponsored by the NJ Library Association and the NJ State Library. Last year in New Jersey, about 140,000 kids registered for summer reading programs and read more than 2 million books, according to the NJ State Library.

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