"Farmingdale Reads," a community-wide reading program where all Farmingdale residents are invited to read the same novel, is set to begin March 1 and administrators say support of the program has been better than expected.
Krammer said more donations were possible and would defray printing and distribution costs. Farmingdale Reads is based on a similar successful program which took place in Chicago last year. Adults and older children will read To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in the town of Maycomb, Alabama during the great depression.
Students in seventh and eighth grade will be encouraged to read Tunes for Bears to Dance To, a book that addresses prejudice and the Holocaust and fourth through sixth-graders will read Because of Winn-Dixie, a novel about friendship and forgiveness. Kindergarten through third-graders will be encouraged to read Crow Boy, about children in Japan that learn to respect each other's differences. The novels were chosen because they follow the theme of Farmingdale Reads: "a project uniting the communities."
"Reading is a wonderful thing for the community," said Krammer, "especially in light of recent events."
Farmingdale Reads will take place during all 31 days of March. Books will be available in the public library and discussion groups will be formed. Farmingdale Schools Superintendent Dr. Roberta Gerold was most impressed by a collaborative effort to promote the event. Placemats will appear shortly in local restaurants, diners and coffee shops. At least 10,000 bookmarks with designs created by students are expected to be available in the public library, school libraries and in Borders bookstore at Airport Plaza. About 15,000 posters will be posted in numerous areas throughout town. Thousands of brochures will be sent to Friends of the Library and distributed at libraries and bookstores. In addition, Farmingdale Reads banners will stretch across Main Street by the end of the month.
"It's amazing how much we've done," said Dr. Gerold. "I'm awed by it."
Various sources, including the Knights of Columbus and the Farmingdale Breakfast Rotary, have pledged a total of $2,150 to implement the program, said Ellen Krammer, administrative director for the Farmingdale School District. And a 38-member event committee has put in a tremendous effort to make sure the program will begin as scheduled.
"The amount we have is close to our target," Krammer said following a Jan. 30 committee meeting at Howitt Middle School. "And I'm expecting even more money as of next year. The people who have pledged are excited. I'm anticipating this will become an epidemic."
Although Farmingdale Reads has progressed smoothly, there are some "little ends hanging out," the superintendent said. Printing of brochures and bookmarks has yet to be done. And for people who prefer to listen to books on tape, the school district has provided an option. They have promised to have 31 different people, including Dr. Gerold, Town Supervisor John Venditto and Farmingdale Mayor Joseph Trudden -- read a separate chapter of the book.
However, the school district has yet to work out a date and time to have the chapter readings recorded at SUNY Farmingdale. Dr. Gerold was confident an arrangement would be reached soon. If not, a resident has a recording studio in their basement that people could use, she said.