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News Release    

June 9, 2009      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

Summer Reading Challenge Kicks Off at Columbus Elementary School in Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Dutchess County Legislator Robert Rolison joined school officials and representatives from the Poughkeepsie Public Library District to kick off the 2009 Summer Reading Challenge today at the Columbus Elementary School in the City of Poughkeepsie.

The goal of Summer Reading Challenge is to have children across Dutchess County read, or have read to them, 50,000 books during the summer.   To get them started, County Executive Steinhaus read Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh and Legislator Rolison read Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton to the students from kindergarten to fourth grade. Two books down: 49,998 to go for this year’s challenge!

“Reading helps expand your imagination and opens your mind to new ideas and possiblities,” said County Executive Steinhaus.  “Read aloud to your parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters to share the joy of a good story,” he told the students.

“Be Creative @ your Library” is the theme of this year’s nationwide summer reading program.   To encourage youngsters and parents to sign-up for the Summer Reading Challenge for 2009, librarians across Dutchess County have great summer programs filled with fun activities, games, prizes and more.     The Poughkeepsie Public Library District (PPLD) has a huge selection of exciting and interesting activities lined up for children to participate in this summer including the PPLD Summer Reading Club which runs from June 26th to August 28th.   Children of all ages, from tot to teen, can join the Summer Reading Club and then record the books they read or have read to them over the summer.    When they return their reading record to the Library with their completed summer reading, they get to choose a gift from the Treasure Chest and receive a Certificate of Recognition from Dutchess County Executive Steinhaus. 

Dutchess County Government provides nearly $250,000 in annual funding to the Mid-Hudson Library System which represents the 22 Public and Association libraries in Dutchess County.   County funding helps local libraries to provide reference support, high-speed Internet access and online databases.   One example is the Dutchess County Reads database, a monthly e-newsletter that alerts subscribers about the specific genre of books they like to read.

Over $109,000 in funding is allocated for the Summer Reading Challenge to support libraries’ summer reading programs and encourage young patrons to continue reading and learning over the summer vacation from school.   County Executive Steinhaus said, “We know participation in summer reading programs enhances academic performance in school, but there are other added benefits as well.    Visiting your local library is a great family activity and introduces children to a diversity of cultural and educational programs to expand their sense of community.”

Studies show significant learning losses occur over the summer when children don’t read.   Reading as a leisure activity is a powerful tool to increase reading comprehension, speed and vocabulary.   Summer reading programs help children maintain and improve reading levels over the summer while they challenge their imaginations, enjoy reading-related activities, safely use the Internet, create craft projects and interact with friends

“Visit your local library and join in our Summer Reading Challenge.  Make reading part of the fun of summertime and students will be off to a great start when school returns in the fall,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.

For additional information about summer reading programs, contact your local library.   For a complete listing of Dutchess County libraries, visit, click on community and then choose libraries.


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