FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- School's out for summer, but one program is looking to keep kids reading throughout the break to keep their literacy skills sharp.

The Fort Rucker Center Library's Summer Reading Program began June 5 with its kick-off party, At the Drive-In, where children got the chance to get their hands dirty as they designed and painted their own cars made out of cardboard, according to Cameron Hill, Fort Rucker Center Library youth librarian.

"The Summer Reading Program is an incentive program designed to keep kids reading throughout the summer, so they don't lose their skills from the end of the school year to the next school year," said the youth librarian.

This year's program theme is Reading by Design, which is why children were able to design their own creations before taking them to the makeshift drive-in at the library to enjoy popcorn and a movie, said Hill, all as a way to get kids engaged and keep learning on their minds.

For Amy Mark, military spouse, the event was a great way to keep her kids occupied and keep reading on their minds.

"It was a lot of fun and I think the kids loved it," she said. "I just think it's great that they get to watch a movie in their little cars. They really loved it and I think the prizes were a fun addition to keep them motivated and engaged throughout -- overall it was fantastic and we would definitely do it again."

Mark said it's refreshing to see more educational events geared toward young children to keep them motivated when it comes to reading or learning.

"This is really good because there really isn't a lot offered on post [to take your children to], so when there are things like this we jump at the opportunity," she said.

That opportunity is a summer of continued learning through the program, which has events scheduled throughout the summer to keep children coming back for more. But the program is about more than just taking part in activities -- it also seeks to keep youth actively reading to keep their skills sharp, said Hill.

"There is no requirement on what they must read," she said. "As long as they are reading, they can read whatever keeps them going and keeps them motivated."

The more children read, the more chances they have at winning prizes, and parents must keep track of how long their children are reading and record the times. All who wish to participate must be registered and all times must be recorded online.

Participants can register and log times at

After children are registered, they can begin logging in their minutes for prizes.

"They keep track of the time that they read," said Hill, "and after a certain amount of minutes, depending on their age group, they will receive a prize."

In addition to prizes, more events throughout the summer will be held at the center library to keep children motivated.

The events include:

• Fun with Science, June 15 from 1-2 p.m.;
• Library Video Blitz, June 21 from 1-3 p.m.;
• Mad Scientist Workshop; Speedometry, June 22 from 1-2 p.m.;
• Animal Tales: Animal Architects, June 29 from 10-11 a.m.;
• Take the LEGO Challenge, July 6 from 1-2 p.m.;
• All Day Anime, July 12, all day; and
• Makey Lab, July 18 from 1-2 p.m.

The program will end with an awards ceremony July 28 at 3 p.m. to award the top readers in each category.

For more information, call 255-3885.