Base summer reading program takes flight
May 24, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Children can lose approximately 22 percent of their reading skills during their summer break from school, said Sally Ellis, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Library supervisor.
According to the National Summer Learning Association, "It's common for teachers to spend at least a month [at the beginning of the school year] re-teaching material students have forgotten over the summer." That's why children should sign up for the library's summer reading program, which takes place July 1 to Aug. 4.
There are prizes involved for those who read the most books - coins, backpacks, pens, blankets, decorative bicycle plates - but the real reward is in increased reading comprehension and vocabulary, Ellis stressed.
The JBM-HH program is part of the Department of Defense-Morale Welfare and Recreation summer reading program. This year's theme "Have book - will travel," alludes to the exotic places books can take you.
"If you read enough about a place it's like actually going there," said Library Technician Yolanda Hebb, expanding on the program's theme. "It helps children use their imagination."
Groups of kindergarteners through 5th graders at the Cody Child Development Center this summer will visit the library once a week for an hour as part of the program, said Carolyn McCain, lead Child and Youth Service teacher at the CDC. So far, she said, 90 children have signed up to participate.
Last year, approximately 170 people participated in the program, said Ellis, who noted how Soldiers and Family members also checked out books on behalf of their children. This doesn't mean adults will swamp the competition when it comes to most books read, however. Contest-wise, Ellis said, children still have the edge because they have more free time to devote to reading.
Children can choose what books they want to absorb at the library, including picture and audio books, said Ellis. She said the base library has a "pretty good young adult section and a very good children's section."
Children can read books at the library but also take them home and accumulate a substantial reading list over the summer, added Hebb. She said the library is looking at converting some office space into an area that can be used for group readings in the future.
"It keeps children going through the summer," said Library Technician Connie Muldrow of the program. "It occurs right at the end of school when they still have some discipline [for learning]."
Last year, participants in the JBM-HH summer reading program logged in more than 1,400 hours devoted to books, Ellis said.
To take part in the summer reading program, participants must be library patrons. For more information, call the library at 703-696-3555.