Elmira, N.Y., June 25—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) reminded area students and their families that he’s sponsoring “Dig Into Reading!,” an online summer reading program that the Senate will be promoting throughout the summer of 2013 in partnership with the New York State Library and public libraries across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.
"I'm glad to have this opportunity to join with so many local public libraries and other groups and organizations seeking to encourage summer reading,” said O’Mara. “The Senate’s online summer reading program offers a convenient opportunity for students and their parents to enjoy the benefits and the rewards of summer reading together. Our region is incredibly fortunate to have such an outstanding network of public libraries providing access to books and other reading activities, materials and opportunities.”
To participate in the Senate’s online program, students and parents can visit O’Mara’s Senate website, www.omara.nysenate.gov , and click on the “Dig Into Reading!”  logo in the left-hand column of the home page. Among other features, the site includes a recording journal, opportunities to share books with other family members and friends, and a series of popular summer reading lists. At the end of the program, participants will receive formal recognition from O’Mara for their reading achievement.
Numerous studies have shown that children who engage in summer reading make greater academic gains than children who do not.
According to New York State Library officials, last year’s summer reading program featured the participation of 1.74 million young people statewide. Program coordinators at the New York State Library, Senate and Assembly hope that increased attention on the benefits of summer reading will result in expanded participation this year.
New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. noted that summer reading programs enable young people to maintain educational advances when not in school.
"The Board of Regents and I encourage students across New York to participate in the summer reading programs at their local public libraries,” said King. “The Summer Reading at New York Libraries program, supported by the State Library in conjunction with our partners in the State Assembly and Senate, is a great way for students to work towards college and career readiness during the summer and stay academically sharp for the next school year."
Additional information on the importance of summer reading can be found at: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer/research.htm .