Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino has launched a virtual reading program called #Revere Reads for the enjoyment of the schoolchildren of Revere.
Serino said the program began last week after learning on social media that two of his friends from Lynn had read children’s books and posted it online.
“I thought it was a great idea – it was an initiative from the Lynn Public Library,” said Serino.
The first-year city councillor then brought the idea to Revere. Last Thursday Serino “dug out” his old box of children’s books and he selected “Strega Nona” for his reading online.
“That book jumped right out because the author, Tommie dePaola, passed away a few weeks ago and I hadn’t really revisited that book in almost 20 years.
Serino then challenged his Council colleagues, other elected officials, community leaders, teachers, and coaches to become readers in the program. His request drew several responses.
“I already have five people lined up,” said Serino. “The Martelli family of Revere, my aunt, who is a school teacher, and others have posted readings online. The program has taken off.”
Explaining his goal of the program, Serino said, “because schools are closed and the library is closed, children don’t have access to story time. When they’re in school, they have a school library where the librarian reads to them. The public library has story time and there is reading in the park in the summer and the kids are being engaged to read. But for the first time ever, there is no opportunity for these kids to go and pick out their favorite book and have it read to them.”
Serino said the pandemic has also forced officials to shutter the “Little Libraries” program in Revere parks.
He said #Revere Reads consists of one reading per setting, typically lasting five to seven minutes. The program is geared to toddlers through fourth grade.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dianne Kelly has endorsed Serino’s new reading program. “It is great that Councillor Serino is taking the time to work with students this way,” said Kelly. “It is amazing to see our elected officials assist with so many aspects of this crisis, from delivering food, to organizing food panties, to helping our kids.The Revere community has been amazing and the children of Revere will benefit from everyone’s collective support and generosity.”