By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterJune 13, 2014
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 13, 2014) -- There are many summer sports activities that children can get involved in before school begins in the fall, but one program on post seeks to improve children's minds.
The Center Library kicked off its Paws to Read program June 9 with juice, cake and a trick dog performance by Lucky Dog Sporting Group from Ashford.
"Paws to Read is our summer reading program theme for this year. We are really excited to get children reading during the summer and we are looking forward to rewarding their progress," said Jodi Wilcox, Center Library systems technician and children's coordinator.
Registration ends June 20 for the free summer reading program, which ends July 18.
The program is geared towards kindergartners through eighth grade, but Wilcox said if a younger child is on a higher reading level they are welcome to join.
Children are allowed to check out as many books as they would like for up to three weeks, said Wilcox. The children will keep up with a time reading log, and when they reach each reading log milestone they will get a prize such as mugs, shirts, cow poppers and more.
"Studies have shown that when children continue to read through the summer, they pick right back up where they left off in May," she said. "And their test scores either improve right away or they, at the least, don't take steps backwards."
Wilcox said that parents can get in on the action, as well, by reading to their children.
"When parents read to their children it creates a personal connection and strengthens their relationship. Plus, when children see their parents enjoying reading that encourages them to read as well," she said. "The passion to read as children helps them think out of the box and be more creative and use their imaginations more."
Wilcox added that reading lends to many children's artistic nature, but also helps them be more intellectually sound.
The library will have a few events during the program to keep children engaged and to encourage them to keep reading.
June 25, a guide dog demonstration with Guide Dogs of America will take place, along with a therapy dog demonstration with Therapy Dogs International at the library from 2-3 p.m. There will also be a chance for children to read with the therapy dogs that afternoon.
July 15, Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary, Inc., will come in along with the Alabama Department of Conservation to educate the children on Alabama wildlife, such as alligators, which will be in attendance.
"They will teach the children about what to do if they see a hurt baby bird, and what to do and not to do if they see a wild animal," she said.
Anna Kirkland, Army spouse, said she enrolled her two daughters because she wants to foster their love of reading, and that her Family has long looked forward to the program beginning.
"My eldest daughter has a hunger for books that is sometimes hard to keep satisfied," she said. "Reading introduces new places and things to my girls that they might not ever experience firsthand. When you sit around the dinner table and your child tells you about a book they really liked, it's priceless."
To register, call 255-3885 or visit the Center Library in Bldg. 212 during operating hours -- Mondays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays to Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m.