Project Lit puts new spin on summer reading in Schenectady – New York News

As beats boomed from a nearby speaker and basketballs rattled around the rims at Jerry Burrell Park in Schenectady on Sunday, Amar Waring proudly held up a copy of a book in the “Skylanders” series.


Waring, who will start first grade at Martin Luther King Elementary School in September, had just checked the book out of a mobile library a few steps away.

“I think this program helps him have something to read in the summer,” Amar’s sister Enid said, noting access to new books is difficult for students in non-school months.

To address that issue and shift the conversation surrounding summer reading, a team of staff members in the Schenectady School District launched Project Lit. As part of the initiative, a mobile library made five stops this summer around Schenectady, with the final scheduled appearance taking place Sunday at Jerry Burrell Park.

Project Lit, and the accompanying hashtag #SchenectadyReads, was conceived by a trio of school district staff members who sought to change the way kids perceive summer reading. Many typically hear the phrase and view it as a homework assignment, but the new effort seeks to make it more mainstream, organizers said.

The name itself is a play off “lit” in the literacy sense, and in the slang sense meaning fun or exciting.

“The summer slide is real,” said Kristina Graves, librarian at Mont Pleasant Middle School. “To avoid that, you need to read. Even if kids come back reading just one extra book over the summer.”

Participants sign up to check out a book from a mobile library by listing their name, grade and school they attend. Since it’s the…

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