Superheroes take over Bentley Memorial Library for annual Read-a-thon

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
Bolton - posted Thu., Jan. 30, 2014
Ryan Halenar, a fourth-grader at Bolton Center School, shows off his superhero mask and wrist cuffs. Photos by Corey AmEnde.
Ryan Halenar, a fourth-grader at Bolton Center School, shows off his superhero mask and wrist cuffs. Photos by Corey AmEnde.

There have been numerous sightings of superheroes at the Bentley Memorial Library lately. These mighty-sized figures sport colorful masks and customized wrist cuffs as they “fly” over the library, all in the name of reading.

The superheroes have been identified as Bolton Center School students and have been visiting the Bentley Memorial Library for the past few weeks, all in support of the annual Bolton Center School Read-a-thon. The annual Read-a-thon runs for a month, and children are required to read 20 days out of the month-long period for a cumulative total of at least 400 minutes. Prizes are awarded for various goals.

Diane Danna, the library assistant at Bentley Memorial Library, said the Bolton Center School Parent Teacher Association sponsors the Read-a-thon every year and has a specific theme for each year. The library supports the Read-a-thon by holding events for the kids on four consecutive Saturdays.

The kickoff for Read-a-thon events at the library was on Saturday, Jan. 18, with a special superhero story time. Children were also able to color a “Reading is Powerful” bookmark. Every time the child brings the bookmark to the library they will receive a sticker. After collecting four stickers they can enter into a raffle for a $20 gift card from Barnes and Noble.

The second event was held on Saturday, Jan. 25, and gave children the chance to make their very own superhero masks and cuffs.  They could also have their picture taken in a special photo booth set up in the library.

Superhero Bingo was on the schedule for Saturday, Feb. 1, and the photo booth was available again.

The final Saturday event is scheduled for Feb. 8, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and begins with story time. Gizmo the Wonderdoglet will make an appearance at 11 a.m. Gizmo is a Paws for Friendship certified therapy dog. 

Pam Halenar, chairperson for enrichment for the Bolton Center School PTA, brought her son Ryan, a fourth-grader, to the superhero event on Saturday, Jan. 25. Halenar said the prizes help create excitement about the event, and most important, get the students motivated to read.

“It really brings reading to the forefront because the kids are required to read 20 minutes a night anyway, but I think it’s a real struggle for some parents to get the kids excited about reading when there are so many other diversions like iPads and laptops and video games and all these things that they have to actually stop them from reading a book – a real book,” said Halenar.

She said she’s seen an increased enthusiasm in Ryan for reading during this annual event.  “He knows that he wants to get his name in there as being a participant. He wants to have a shot at the gift card,” said Halenar. “He wants to have a shot at the prizes here, so we’re showing up every Saturday.”

“It’s fun to come and do the crafts, and I think the fact that we pick a theme every year, it gives kids something to grasp onto and it keeps it in their mind, so the superhero theme is really kind of good for them,” added Halenar.

And as an extra source of motivation for the children at Bolton Center School, Halenar said, “if we have 100-percent participation from every child in this school doing the Read-a-thon – meaning turning in a reading log – our principals are going to dress up as superheroes for the day, both the principal and the assistant, so I think there’s a big push for people to turn in a reading log.”

Even though the event is just focused on children at the Center School, it was also an opportunity for a few high school students to earn credit towards their required 50 hours of community service to graduate. Sophomore Lindsey Joseph volunteered at last year’s event and will assist for all four Saturdays at the library this year. Joseph said she enjoys working with the children on the arts and crafts projects.

“It’s really fun and a lot of them are really adorable,” said Joseph. “They glue everything on [their mask] that they possibly can, but then they put it on, they’re so happy. They smile and they’re so adorable. I just love little kids.”

Arthur Vitkovskis, also a sophomore at the high school, volunteered at the event last year and worked three of the Saturdays this year.
“We made masks to make the kids look like superheroes and we also helped them make superhero cuffs, and then they later took pictures on a mat to make them look like they were flying over a city,” said Vitkovskis.

Let us know what you think!
Please be as specific as possible.
Include your name and email if you would like a response back.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the code without spaces and pay attention to upper/lower case.