The children of the Verona Pool went to distant countries, magical lands and met interesting characters, all without leaving their towels. The Verona Reading Room is a non-profit summer program at the Verona Pool that encourages children of all ages to read, giving the children a variety of books to choose from. Funded by the generous grants of the town and supporters, the books in the reading room span many different genres and age groups, with many being donated from people’s personal collections. Founded by Norma Francullo and Daphne Smith, both board members of C.H.I.L.D., Inc. and co-chairs of the Reading Committee, the Reading Room was inspired and modeled after the Bryant Park’s Reading Room in New York City.
The Reading Room was run this summer by local students Emma Francullo, Maddi Britch, and Luke Fess. The counselors encouraged children to sign up, promising to read a certain amount of minutes per day in exchange for fun prizes. Ranging from free ice cream from The Towne Scoop to gift cards from Game Stop, the children were eager to read. Letting the children choose their own books, the counselors allowed the students to find what interested them. However, the counselors would help guide the children if they had any questions, as well as quiz them and encourage them to think critically about the book they selected.
One of the popular features of the Reading Room was Story Time. The counselors would select a picture book to read aloud to the children, often selecting books from their childhood. Favorites such as Stellaluna, The Kissing Hand and Dr. Seuss were introduced to the children and the children introduced their favorite books to the counselors. A “Word Of The Day” was also posted at the entrance of the pool, teaching the children a new word to use.
While the Reading Room closed its doors for the summer on July 26, the future for the Reading Room is very bright. Always looking to gain more readers, the Reading Room is looking to incorporate Kindles and new ideas for future summers. The Reading Room would like to thank all of the readers and their parents for a successful summer and would like to encourage everyone to keep reading.
This story was written by Luke Fess, Emma Francullo and Maddi Britch.