Gill inspires a love of literature through summer reading club

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published July 7, 2015

 Tatum Skubic, 6, and Keaton Skubic, 4, look at Tatum’s book selection for June 30 at the media center of Gill Elementary School.

Tatum Skubic, 6, and Keaton Skubic, 4, look at Tatum’s book selection for June 30 at the media center of Gill Elementary School.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Reading books doesn’t have to end when the school doors close for the summer — Gill Elementary School made sure of that.


During the school’s second annual summer reading program — a collaboration between Gill and the Farmington Community Library — hundreds of students in the Gill community have been reading for the past few weeks.


“We ... view this as a great opportunity for incoming kindergarten students, new students and their families to make new friends, meet some of the staff, and become familiar and comfortable with the school environment,” Cynthia Zervos, a media specialist, teacher and librarian at  Gill and Power Upper Elementary School, said in an emailed statement.


The Bright Summer, Bright Futures Gill summer reading program kicked off June 23 in Gill’s library with students and their parents grabbing books and healthy snacks. They were read to by FCL children’s paraprofessional Dottie Donahue-Pheney and later signed up for library cards.


“She is bringing the services here. It is really cool,” Zervos said.  “Both efforts are joined, and it is a win-win situation.”


“This summer, the program has grown significantly with more families participating in it,” Donahue-Pheney said. “The students that partake in our program are developing a love of reading that will enhance their lives now and into the future.”


The program runs from 10-11:30 a.m every Tuesday through Aug. 4 at the school, 21195 Gill Road.


Farmington Hills resident Taryn Skubik stood in the middle of the event with her kids in tow and described the program as a “great opportunity — not only for the public library, but students at Gill.”


Zervos said the program got its start last year after she spoke with students and realized that many of them were not able to participate in the FCL’s Summer Reading Club because they didn’t have transportation to the library, among other factors.


Zervos said that this way, many students don’t have to worry about that because many parents walk their kids to Gill.


“It is easy because it is local,” Zervos said. “It keeps them reading, active and involved — a great community builder for us.”


More than 300 students participated in the program last year.


Zervos said her favorite aspect of the program is working with students.


“I love them being excited about reading,” she said. “Just getting them to love literature — that is what it is all about.”


Students receive credit through the summer reading program by racking up reading hours.


Program highlights include storytimes, crafts, checking out books, computer help for parents and more.


The reading program received $410 from the Farmington/Farmington Hills Education Foundation to provide free books to students who attend. 


Farmington Hills resident Amelia Denison brought out siblings Quinn Stamper, 4, and Paige Stamper, 6, to the fun.


The two are both in the reading program, and Denison said she knows “they’re excited about it.”


Paige said she likes to read Batman books.


“I like superheroes. They can fly,” the Gill first-grader said.


As the event was wrapping up, Donahue-Pheney wished everyone a “happy summer reading.”


“See you guys soon,” she said.

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