Summer Reading

SLS Supports Summer Reading Programs in NYSSD, Madison
Posted on 07/21/2022

The librarians at the New York State School for the Deaf and Oneida Public Library have partnered on a summer initiative to expose elementary students to American Sign Language (ASL) and computer coding.

The four-week program is partially funded through the MOBOCES School Library System’s annual Summer Reading Mini-Grants. It is the first time that NYSSD has received this grant, which supports summer programs in school libraries and school-public library summer partnerships.

SLS is also supporting Madison's annual summer reading program with a Summer Reading Mini-Grant.

During their weekly program sessions, NYSSD students connect via Zoom with participating students in the Oneida library. Students in each location greet each other and spell their names using ASL. Then each site works on coding challenges using Finch Robots, including guiding the robot through a floor maze and having the robots knock a plastic egg off of a paper cup.

NYSSD librarian Ellen Dupree approached OPL Youth Services Librarian Megan Gillander several months ago to brainstorm a joint project. OPL has offered both ASL and robotics programs for children, families and community members, and Dupree thought that would be a great connecting point for her students.

“I loved the idea of connecting ASL and coding, because it is all about communication,” Gillander said. “Both ASL and coding are ways to communicate, one with people and one with robots. I think it is so important for young people to see connections.”

NYSSD received a set of Finch Robots to use this summer through a school loan program from Birdbrain. Dupree applied for a Summer Reading Mini-Grant to purchase materials for participating students. 

The SLS Mini-Grant to Madison partially supports a weekly family summer reading initiative. Madison school librarian Nicole Bodner invites special guests to school on four Tuesday evenings for themed stories and an interactive component – including Touch A Truck, robotics and crafting.

Madison has run this program for many summers with support from MOBOCES, Oriskany Falls Rotary Club, Connected Community Schools and the Hamilton Public Library.