Fort Belvoir, Va. (June 12, 2014) - The Van Noy Library is encouraging children to spend the summer reading, and they're offering a few perks to further sweeten the deal through the Summer Reading Program.

The library, in a partnership with the Department of Defense, is offering students a reading log that children can fill out and return for prizes. This year's theme is Paws, based on Rocket the dog from the popular children's book, "Rocket Learns to Read."

"We're just really pushing that we want them to read over the summer," said Katie Buxbaum, library technician and youth programmer at Van Noy Library.

Each age group has a different reading requirement for the summer: children from kindergarden to 4th grade are required to read 20 books, grades 5 and 6 must read 15 and 7th to 12th grade should finish eight. Buxbaum said the toughest group is the 5th and 6th graders.

"That's a really hard age group, they really don't like to read," she said.

The two older age groups will pick a genre from the Paws box Buxbaum has on hand and will have to select a book from that genre. The idea is to get children out of their comfort zones and Buxbaum is a great resource for anyone looking for something new.

"Being able to encourage them to try something different makes it fun," she said adding that if they don't provide a bit of structure, students will often drift to the popular books, and Buxbaum wants them to broaden their reading horizons.

Prizes are handed out as the children go through the program, as an encouragement to keep going. Once the log has been finished, Buxbaum says the children are encouraged to keep going. Anyone who doubles their reading log will get their names put up on the "I Kept Reading" board in the library.

"They like seeing proof that they completed it," Buxbaum said. She often finds younger students zoom through their reading and can sometimes get their names on the "I Kept Reading" board multiple times.

Children are welcome to check out books, or spend a day in the library. Parents are encouraged to drop their children off, or spend time with them in the library.

"I've had kids come and stay all day," she said. "I like (providing) a fun, safe environment for them."

One great aspect of the program is the networking that happens, Buxbaum said. She enjoys seeing parents come in and share with other parents what their children have enjoyed in the past.

"It's cool to see parents interacting as well," she said.

The program means Buxbaum has to keep up with the current trends so as to advise children when they have questions. The library has many of the required readings from the Fairfax County Summer Reading List.

"I like to flip through as much of the children's books just to see what's out there," Buxbaum said.

The program is intentionally not structured, so that students can read at their own speed. Because it's linked to the DoD program, Buxbaum said military Families that move or travel throughout the summer can check in at a new on-post library and still access the same programming and complete their logs.

"As the kids move from base to base, the programming is all the same," she said.

She also had the program expanded to the end of August to further accommodate military Families. Partnering with DoD also means the program does not come out of the Van Noy Library's budget.

To enroll in this year's Summer Reading Program, registered library users can stop by and fill out a registration card and collect their reading log. New users can visit the library to get registered.

For more information on the Fairfax County Summer Reading List, visit www.fcps.edu/is/summer/read ing/. For more on the Van Noy Library's summer activities, visit www.belvoirmwr.com/Facilities/Library/.

Page last updated Wed June 11th, 2014 at 00:00