Today’s news:

Readers stack up head & shoulders above the crowd

The Grand Street Campus High Schools (850 Grand St.) hosted their annual awards ceremony for the school cluster’s most prolific readers, honoring 17 students whose names showed up most frequently on the library’s computerized checkout database.

In its fourth year of existence, the ceremony is designed to promote reading among a low−income student body to encourage facility with the written word.

“Reading is one of those things you need for everything, really,” said librarian Michael Cunningham. “On written tests, it’s not just about what you know, but how well you can read the questions.”

At the awards ceremony, students were awarded with Barnes and Noble Gift certificates, awards from the school and a certificate of achievement by Councilmember Diana Reyna.

Cunningham, who collaborated with co−librarian Bethany Eccleston−Webber, disputes the notion that high school is “too late” to encourage a love of reading.

“It’s never too late. In fact, it’s important to catch kids when they are in high school,” he said.

“A lot of kids hopefully will go to college, and we want to prevent them from going to remedial programs once they get there. And for those who aren’t considering college, maybe reading programs will encourage them that they maybe should.”

Award winners were determined on the basis of how many books they checked out from September 2008 to May 2009. The type of books they checked out was not taken into consideration.

“We don’t ask the students to read anything in particular. We’re just trying to encourage to read for fun and not necessarily for scholastics,” he said.

The award winners were as follows:

From the High School of Enterprise, Business, and Technology: Marquez Jenkins, Maurice Anderson, Jonathan Worthy, Christopher Davis, Desmon Solomon, Vicente Rodriguez, Mike Serrano.

From Progress High School: Neteh Saylee, Raul Herrera, Luis Burgos, Atiana Francis, and Nakeya Gadson.

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