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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Over the summer, 10-year-old Emma Perkin was hard at work. The voracious reader spent 9,590 minutes (which translates to 160 hours and 38 minutes) reading, tracking all of her time at the library and online.
The Needham Free Public Library recognized her dedication to reading and entered Emma into the Boston Bruins’ “When You Read, You Score!” program in association with the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to encourage children to read over vacation.
While the Bruins have been offering this program to all in Massachusetts since 2009, this is the third year that the Needham Free Public Library has taken part in the program.
As an incentive for children to read as frequently as they can during the summer months, the Bruins ask Massachusetts’s librarians to submit the names of their top readers for a chance to win autographed Bruins memorabilia.
“When I go into the schools and I tell the kids about the Boston Bruins program and the prizes they can get from the Bruins, they’re all extremely excited,” said Paula Dugan, the Children’s Library supervisor. “It really inspires the kids to sign up in the program and read. If they’re getting a little tired or struggling along, the incentive of what they can win from the Bruins really keeps them going.”
Through a random drawing, Emma was the first in Needham’s history of partaking in the program to win. Her prize: an adult-sized jersey autographed by the entire team and a certificate of authenticity.
“Last year she participated in the reading program, too, but we didn’t win anything. So this year was super exciting,” said Emma’s mother, Anna Perkin. “She loves to read, especially in the evening, when it’s bedtime. She’ll read as long as she can.”
Emma can’t recall just how many books she read over the summer, but she said her favorite was undoubtedly “Out of My Mind” by Sharon Draper, a realistic fiction novel about a young girl with cerebral palsy. Next year, Emma plans to read even more over the summer and break the record she set for herself.
Although she’ll have to wait a few more years to grow into the jersey, Emma has made it clear that her joy for reading is something she will never outgrow.