The Sanibel Public Library presents its summer reading program each year for island youth. The goal is to instill a love of reading in children and teens. This year they read for the Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida.
"This is a great program and we see firsthand how it helps kids in our hospital," said hospital representative Shane Rafferty, who traveled to Sanibel to accept the donation.
When children read for five hours they earned a book for themselves and one for the hospital. With 158 children logging more than 1,600 hours of reading this summer, they were able to collect more than 500 books for the donation.
Garrett Gablehouse and Shane Rafferty with the Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida accepts a donation of more than 500 books from the Sanibel Public Library's summer reading program. (Photo by SHANNEN HAYES)
"These books help take the kids' minds off the reason why they are at the hospital," said Garret Gablehouse, a teacher at Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida. "The families appreciate being able to take the books home, too."
The other part of the summer reading program is the "challenge." Children up to fifth grade were given a chart of different activities to complete, all dealing with reading. Once an activity was completed the child earned points and after 15 points could pick a book for themselves and for the hospital. To date, 123 books have been earned.
Children up to second grade could also become a "marathon reader" by completing 25 hours during the nine-week program. Those in third to fifth grades needed 50 hours and two kids became marathon readers.
The Sanibel Public Library Foundation, along with the Joan Hunt Cory Children's Fund, underswrites the summer reading program. The Joan Hunt Cory children's fund was established in 2008 to honor longtime library volunteer and supporter Joan Hunt Cory, who was also a 20-year Sanibel resident.
In addition to the summer programs for children, the Cory Fund has supported the Early Literacy Stations, computers with teaching software including math, English, geography, science and art; a TeenSpace technology lab for school assignments and research; and youth book discussion clubs.