Though the last day of school isn’t until May 18, Rollins Place Elementary School kicked off its summer reading program at a first-grade assembly on April 7.

The students watched and cheered during a video that featured their teachers and school administrators reading a book while dancing and performing tasks around campus to a popular song.

Assistant Principal Kelli Day addressed the first-graders as Pigeon, a favorite character of the students from the Pigeon book series by author-illustrator Mo Willems.

Teacher Laurie Condon, while wearing a neon pink wig, also spoke to the children, encouraging them to read during the break.

“You’re invited to read with us every Wednesday this summer,” Condon yelled.

“The purpose of the program is to provide the students with plenty of reading opportunities throughout the summer,” Principal Jennifer Marangos said.

According to a flyer that went home with students, Thursday special events are planned to encourage the first-graders to read as well as discuss books. Completely voluntary, the program invites first-graders entering second grade to participate.

“We’re hoping to prevent summer slide,” teacher Stacey Hodges said, explaining that during summer, students tend to lose reading levels. “This program also provides access to books for students who may not have any.”

There are no requirements in the program, but students are encouraged to attend to as many events as possible during summer months.

An informational meeting for parents to learn more about the program is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the school cafeteria, and while parents are attending the meeting, first-graders may participate in an Accelerated Reader quiz.

Hodges said the Accelerated Reader event is strictly voluntary for students.

“Kids love to take tests on books they’ve read to earn extra points,” said Hodges, who explained the AR event merely coincides with the Summer Reading meeting and the two are unrelated.

All parents attending the meeting, however, will receive a free dress day coupon for their child to redeem on Monday.

Over the summer, the students are encouraged to attend Rollins Place Elementary from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Wednesday. The schedule is as follows:

MAY 25: Check books in/out

JUNE 1: Summer reading event

JUNE 8: Check books in/out

JUNE 22: Summer reading event

JUNE 29: Check books in/out

JULY 13: Summer reading event

JULY 20: End of summer celebration

During each summer reading event, parents and students will participate in reading lessons, learn helpful reading strategies and discuss books. Activities, snacks and more are planned for the students who attend.

Also, the children will be allowed to exchange books for new ones on the summer reading dates.