BINGHAM — Eleven-year-old Lacie Sanipas took a break from her usual after-school video games on a recent afternoon and, with library books in her arms, walked through the doors of the Somerset Rehabilitation and Living Center. “It’s good to get a break from electronics,” said Sanipas, a fifth-grade student at Quimby Middle School. She was among a handful of students who spent time this week reading to residents at the nursing home. The event was one of several planned as part of a Screen-Free Week in the Bingham area organized by School Administrative District 13.

Screen-Free Week is an annual event that takes place in communities across the country. The program is coordinated by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a nonprofit group aimed at minimizing children’s exposure to marketing. Originally known as TV-Turnoff, it was started in 1994 as a way to encourage children to spend more time with their families, being active and being creative.

During the weeklong event, which is being held nationally this year from May 4 through 10, participants are encouraged to not use their electronic devices. Volunteers are charged with organizing activities such as craft nights, hikes, visits to museums and community service events that do not include screens — computers, phones or television. The events are often organized through school or church groups, libraries or other community groups.

“The goal is to get kids to be more active and to encourage them to use their brains,” said Karen LaForgia, an art teacher in SAD13 and the district’s library media specialist. LaForgia and another teacher in the district, Cathy Foran, organized the area’s first Screen-Free Week.

“A lot of kids today spend too much time on screens and not interacting with people,” LaForgia said. “We’re trying to get them to do other things, whether it’s taking a walk or going to read to people in a nursing home.”

About 50 students in the district took pledges to participate in Screen-Free Week, agreeing to not use electronics except for when they are in school or required to do so for homework assignments. The event is also open to the community. Other groups, such as the Bingham Union Library and the Old Canada Road Historical Society, have created events to coincide with Screen-Free Week and keep people entertained.

“It started at the school, but we called the library and the Town Office,” LaForgia said. “We’ve been trying to make it a whole community thing.”

The week started with a basketball tournament and family game night on Monday, a hike to Moxie Falls and an afternoon of reading to residents at the Somerset Rehab and Living Center on Tuesday, and a craft night on Wednesday. Each event was open to the public and students could sign up for as many as they wanted.

“I think it’s been a wonderful way to integrate the generations,” said Barbara Keegan, the activities director at the nursing home, of the reading event Tuesday. While the concept of a screen-free week was something she said few residents could relate to, she said most were happy to see young people. “Some of them have grandchildren, but they never get to see them. This is amazing,” she said.