More than 100 people attended the 's Annual Summer Reading Kickoff Saturday.
The BID Family Days event, sponsored by the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District, provided children with a day of arts and crafts, gift bags and a performance by singer El Louie.
Local organizations gave out materials to parents and caregivers on reading and other educational tools.
Barbara Davis, the library's community relations coordinator, said that the library's main objective is to keep children reading during the summer.
"Studies have proven that children's reading capabilities diminish during summer vacation," she said. "When school is out, we are in."
Susan Edelstein, director of the Institute for School Age Child Care and coordinator of Born Learning, agreed with Davis.
Born Learning was created through a partnership with United Way of America, Ad Council, Civitas and the Families and Work Institute. It is a campaign that helps parents, caregivers and communities create quality early learning opportunities for young children from infancy.
“Children are born learning,” Edelstein said. “If they get a leg up on learning how to read, they will be ready for school. Studies have shown that when children start school behind they will never catch up.”
The library will run a summer reading game for children in pre-K to fifth grade. Children will receive prizes for reading a certain number of books and will be invited to a big reading party at the end of the summer.
Natoya Webster of Pelham watched her 3-year-old daughter Natalee Webster and her 9-year-old niece Kassidy Webster make bookmarks with their names on it.
"I read to my daughter a lot," she said. "Reading is the foundation for education. If you don't read you won't know anything, so it is very important."
Marie Adme of New Rochelle brought her sons Jeremiah, 9, and Josuha, 8.
"We did the reading program last year," Adme said. "Reading is very important because it helps to develop their minds."
Joshua Adme said he is a fan of one book series.
"My favorite is the Captain Underpants series," he said, smiling.
Davis walked around and watched as families laughed and made crafts together.
"We just want them to read whatever they like," she said. "The point is to keep them reading."