Boardman program transforms Pac-Man into learning tool

By Ashley Luthern


A classic arcade game jumped off the screen Thursday as the Boardman Library hosted a live version of Pac-Man.

Children raced around the library’s meeting room pretending to be the cheerful, yellow character and collected colorful plastic eggs as points, all while dodging the aim of the “ghosts.”

If a Pac-Man was hit by one of the ghosts, who were tossing plush dice at their opponents, then his or her turn was ended.

Although it might not seem related to reading, Josephine Nolfi, manager of children’s services, said offering programs such as this gets kids in the door and leaving with a book in hand.

“This was a chance for kids to play and work on their motor skills, and it gives us a chance to promote summer reading,” Nolfi said.

Fewer children have registered for summer reading compared with last year, but more children this year are completing the program and reading eight hours or more, she added.

The majority of the 20 kids who attended Thursday’s arcade-based activity were involved in summer reading, including siblings Ivan Bosnjak, 11; Alec Bosnjak, 9 and Ava Bosnjak, 6, of Boardman.

Ava said she’s been reading the Junie B. Jones series, written from perspective of a kindergarten student, while her oldest brother Ivan prefers action fiction, such as Kingdom Keepers, a series of novels about kids who appear as holograms in the Magic Kingdom where Disney villains come to life.

Their mother, Andrea Bosnjak, said her children enjoy the variety of library programming.

“I think it’s wonderful. They’ve offered so many different activities. It’s a nice break from the pool and video games for the kids,” Bosnjak said. “It gets them out of the house and here for a program.”

But one of the video games that her children play is Pac Man, Bosnjak said.

“I’m a big Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man fan. Our family has the TV game arcade, so they know what it is because of me,” she said, noting how different those games are from other gaming systems her kids play now.

The Pac Man event is the last big event before the Boardman Library, 7680 Glenwood Ave., closes so that its air-conditioning unit can be replaced. The library will close at the end of the day Saturday and reopen Aug. 20.

That won’t stop Bosnjak from taking her children to summer reading programs in other areas.

“We go to programs at other library branches, which is great because they get to interact with kids from other communities,” she said.

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