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Greenport principal Joseph Tsaveras to drive summer bookmobile

Beginning Tuesday morning, July 12, 2016, Greenport Elementary School principal Joseph Tsaveras, along with a teacher and a couple of student volunteers, drove a minibus stocked with about 400 children's books. The "library on wheels" can be spotted throughout Greenport every Tuesday for the next five weeks. He'll be making stops at local parks and at the Greenport Village recreation center, where students will be invited on board to choose a book to borrow. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

A Greenport principal will be cruising through his community in a “bookmobile,” in an effort to keep his students reading through the summer months.

Beginning Tuesday morning, Greenport Elementary School principal Joseph Tsaveras, along with a teacher and a couple of volunteer students, will be driving around in a minibus stocked with about 400 children’s books.

The “library on wheels” can be spotted throughout Greenport every Tuesday for the next five weeks, said Tsaveras, of Hampton Bays. He’ll be making stops at different locations like the 3rd Street Park, the Mitchell Park and the Greenport Village recreation center, where students will be invited onboard to choose a book they can take home with them.

“It’ll almost be like an ice cream truck,” Tsaveras said. “I can get books to students when I see them just walking around town.”

After they’ve returned their book, students will receive a postcard for them to complete a short book report. Tsaveras will deliver the postcards to teachers in September when school’s back in session, so the children will be able to discuss what they’ve read.

“The goal in this is to promote literacy, but I also think it’s going to be a ton of fun,” Tsaveras said. “It’ll be great, just being able to see the kids during the summer break.”

Tsaveras said his bookmobile was inspired by Greenport superintendent David Gamberg, who ran his own summer bookmobile program while he was the principal of Medford Elementary School in 2003.

“I stuck a little sign on the side of my Ford Explorer and had a little bell and would just hand books out to students,” Gamberg said. “I thought it was a wonderful way to keep literacy front and center.”

Tsaveras said he’s hoping to build the program next summer, when he plans to ask students to help him decorate the minibus and maybe even hand out healthy snacks from the school’s garden with the books.

“The ultimate goal is just to get books in kids’ hands, but we want to make it fun for them, too,” Tsaveras said. “We want our kids to fall in love with reading and hopefully become life-long readers.”

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