By Molly Hayden, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsJanuary 9, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - "My alien has one big eye, purple spaghetti hair and octopus legs," explained 9-year-old Marli Flores. She then began to draw the main character on the cover of her newly written masterpiece at the Sgt. Yano Library, recently.
"This is my first book," added the young author.
The new Knowledge Adventure program, "Books by You," recently arrived at post libraries across the island to introduce children to the art of storytelling. The software product includes the framework for four engaging original storybooks.
Children customized their stories based on personal experiences by providing simple answers to an array of thought-provoking questions. Answers and details were then woven into the story in unexpected ways that made reading the story fun.
Children expanded their vocabulary as challenging new words were introduced and defined.
"This is a great learning tool," said family member Martina Flores. "The story is set, but the children can adjust it to their liking and make it their own."
From a prize monkey that is stolen from the zoo to the cheese-loving alien that lands on a farm, the completed books incorporate the child's own ideas, creativity and imagination.
The experience helped children develop better typing skills, writing techniques and encouraged creative thought, according to Bonnie Dong, supervisor, Sgt. Yano Library.
"This program involved the children with books," said Dong, "hopefully creating more enthusiastic readers."
After completing their books, the handful of young authors created book covers using construction paper, markers, crayons and paint. Paper monkeys and outlines of aliens donned tables as children colored, glued, illustrated and tied the pages of their story together.
Each book contained approximately 70 pages of creative verbiage and set the stage for years of thought-provoking storytelling. The program is designed to ignite imaginations and inspire a love of reading and writing in children ages 8 and up.
"This inspires them creatively and makes them think," said family member Laura Salgado. "And it's fun."