Make a knight of it! Library hosts real-life chess game

Brooklyn Paper
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Getting kids to read is child’s play!

The Brooklyn Public Library kicked of its annual summer reading program at the Central branch in Prospect Heights on Thursday, with a games-themed party that included a live-action chess match where kids stood in as the game pieces. And the youngsters had such a blast acting as knights and rooks, they even managed to stay skill on the giants chess board, according to one local dad.

“I thought the chess game was great — the kids were having fun, and were surprisingly patient,” said Matt Curinga, who brought his 10-year-old son Diego and 7-year-old daughter Fiona to the book bash. “I was skeptical at first, but they seemed interested the whole time.”

The reading program aims to keep Brooklyn kids’ noses buried in books during the school break, so their literacy skills don’t go backwards. The library keeps participating youngsters engaged with live events, online activities and games, contests, and an app where readers can track their progress.

Last year, 122,470 kids enrolled in the scheme. More than a thousand readers registered for this year’s program at Thursday’s event, and even more are expected to sign up at other library locations, according to a library official.

In addition to the real-person chess, the Thursday “Get in the Game” kick-off party also included giant Connect Four, puzzles, and dominoes, and one participant said the shtick was a great way to get kids psyched about the program.

“I love that every year they do a different theme to get kids excited about it,” said performer Elaine Gil, who hosted the event. “It’s important because it really promotes literacy — it gets everybody coming out to the library, knowing that it’s fun to read.”

Kids can sign up to the program at

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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