Kristopher Depaz and Ayaan Geer, both 5, were rewarded with brand new bicycles for reading 1,000 books before kindergarten. The bikes were donated by Friends of the Riverhead Free Library. Also pictured: Friends president Marcia Littenberg and RFL Youth and Family Services coordinator Lauren Strong. Photo: Peter Blasl

Two kindergartners who love books were rewarded with a new set of wheels Wednesday evening at Riverhead Free Library.

Ayaan Geer and Kristopher Depaz, both age 5, each read 1,000 books before kindergarten. The library celebrated their achievement by presenting them with brand new bicycles donated by Friends of the Riverhead Free Library.

Ayaan, who attends Riley Avenue Elementary School, said she loves to read and had a hard time deciding, when asked, what her all-time favorite book is. After giving it some thought, she settled on “Crocodile and Hen” and “Pete the Cat.” Ayaan aspires to be a cheerleader, a Mouseketeer and a veterinarian.

Khristopher, a Roanoke Avenue Elementary School student, is already reading on his own. He loves playing soccer with his dad and wants to be a professional soccer player when he grows up. “It’s my favorite sport,” he said.

“The 1,000 books before kindergarten program is an early literacy initiative that helps a child learn pre reading skills such as understanding the sounds the letters make, developing a bigger vocabulary and building background knowledge,” said the library’s Youth and Family Services coordinator Lauren Strong.

The program is sponsored by Friends of the Riverhead Free Library, which awards a free bicycle to every child who completes the program and meets the 1,000-book milestone.

Friends president Marcia Littenberg and board member Thelma Booker were on hand for the presentation Wednesday.

“It’s a great, great accomplishment,” Littenberg told the children and their families. “Congratulations.”

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Peter Blasl is an award-winning photographer and newshound who chases breaking news when he's not busy selling ads for the LOCAL websites. He’s a lifelong Riverhead resident, nature-lover and avid fisherman Email Peter