By Pvt. Choi Keun-woo and Pfc. Lee Min-hwi, USAG-Yongsan)July 2, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - "I think that we should teach young children to enjoy reading. Reading is actually a key that opens up the whole world. They can virtually learn anything."
Those words from Maj. Daniel Pletsch sum up why the Yongsan Library organizes the annual summer reading program, which started June 17 and runs through July 29.
"When children start reading at young age, they will gradually build up curiosity to read on their own, and the whole world is open up to them for their exploration," said Pletsch, the chief of pastoral care at the 121st Combat Support Hospital and a guest storyteller. "Reading is the most important skill children can ever get."
Children should be encouraged to make a habit of reading books, said Dr. Esther Kim, the Installation Management Command-Korea region librarian. In summertime, although children have many other activities, she said the library holds a "world of exploration" at their fingertips.
"We prepared this program to help children develop a habit of reading books and to help them become creative readers," Kim said.
The children meet Tuesdays at the Moyer Theater in two sessions, one for preschoolers and one for school-age children.
"Every week, we try to bring guests who have expertise in regard to the themes of each week," Kim said. "All of these guests grew up going to libraries, so their experience would help, too."
The second week's theme was "Catch the Reading Bug" featuring an entomologist from the hospital and his displays of bugs.
"Personally, I believe that this will help the children understand that not all insects are bad, but some of them are really good for our environment," said Lt. Col. Jason Pike, the 18th Medical Command command entomologist and consultant.
Appropriately, the books Pike read were titled "Big Bug Surprise" and "I Love You Stink Bug."
Ten-year-old Sumaiya Irfan saw how using mosquito repellent really worked. "I think it was cool and fun. I could put my hand into a net filled with mosquitoes and it was the coolest thing."
Lucy Yi, mother of 4-year-old Alexander, said her son "loves to read. Coming here and listening to stories was a good opportunity for both of us. I hope that he will continue to read."