Celebrating Reading

Staff photo by Adam Urquhart Elijah Santiago, 7, digs into a cookie he decorated during a holiday party at the Arlington Street Community Center on Saturday.

NASHUA – Parents and their children had the opportunity to learn more about the Mayor’s Winter Reading Challenge Saturday at the Arlington Street Community Center.

The center hosted a holiday party where people could learn more about the challenge and enjoy various activities. This special party ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring refreshments, craft making, cookie decorating and the Rotary Club of Nashua West donating winter clothing, such as hats and mittens. In addition, the center’s director, Megan Caron, said 80 Christmas trees were given away during the event.

“Everyone’s really excited, and I’m excited to see how many kids we get reading this winter,” Caron said.

The reading challenge is a program open to children in grades one through five in Nashua, with the intent of encouraging them to keep reading throughout the winter months, continuing to build their vocabulary and reading skills and providing opportunities to share books and stories. From Dec. 20 through March 3, readers can use the Beanstack app to track their reading, write book reviews and record their participation in related events. The number of books read and the duration of time one spends reading can be tracked using the app.

“The plan is to have three events at the center,” Caron said. “One during winter break, one on MLK Day and then the last one during February break, and that’s to celebrate their achievements that they’ve met while participating in the program. It’s really to encourage youth to be reading, but to be reading all winter long, and to track their progress using the new Beanstack app through the library.”

This challenge is put on through a collaboration between the mayor’s office, the Arlington Street Community Center, My Brother’s Keeper, the Nashua Public Library and the Nashua School District.

During the program, kids will be able to earn badges and incentives, and at the end, there will be a celebration at the center where prizes will be awarded to winners in several categories. Examples of those categories include, most books read and best book review.

“Reading fuels a child’s imagination, and I think the Mayor’s Winter Reading Challenge will do that for children in Nashua,” Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess said in a statement. “It’s a chance for them to have fun while learning. The Beanstack app is a great way to add technology to this program, and awarding prizes lets each child set and achieve goals, hopefully providing a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.”

Although a collection of books featuring themes of diversity have been selected for this year’s challenge, kids can pick any book they choose. Books can be borrowed from the center or the library, and a complete list of titles can be found in the Beanstack app, the center and the library. For more information and to register for the program, visit https://nashualibrary.beanstack.org/reader365 or stop by the center, located at 36 Arlington St.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.