DANVILLE – Tish Betz hopes the summer reading program will help her son.
“I hope this will spark an interest in reading,” she said Friday before the first session of the new free Pat Ackerman Guys Read for Young Boys Program began in the Thomas Beaver Free Library.
Eleven-year-old Charlie likes sports and Danville High School athletes are serving as mentors for the program.
Charlie plays baseball, soccer and basketball.
Thirteen boys, entering third through sixth grades, have signed up so far for the program to be held at 1 p.m. Fridays through Aug. 15. There will be no session July 4.
Ten high school athletes are serving as mentors.
On Friday, Josh Marzak and Aidan Kennedy, both 15 and Danville High School tennis players, read to the younger boys.
Their subject was the World Cup with treats served later of cookies iced to resemble soccer balls and juice.
Each of the younger boys read about a World Cup player and then used push pins on a world map to mark the country where he was born and the country where his team is from.
“We’re combining geography in the lesson,” said Library Director Bonnie White who is running the program funded by the Ackerman family through the First Community Foundation of Pennsylvania. The designated fund will be a permanent funding source in which a portion of the fund’s investment income will be granted annually to the library for the program for young boys.
Assisting White are Erin Bown and Michael Vasali.
“Other countries live and breathe soccer. Soccer is the biggest and main sport in other parts of the world,” said Vasali whom White described as an expert on geography.
The program is aimed at teaching and reinforcing the love of reading through the summer. Studies have shown boys lose interest in reading for pleasure in the third and fourth grades.