JOINT MULTINATIONAL READINESS CENTER, Germany – Turnbull Memorial Library held a party to begin its annual summer reading program June 14, 2023.
The library blocked off the street in front of its building so children could scrape colorful chalk designs into the asphalt while others made bubble wands and breathed life into shimmering orbs of soap.
The event, largely aimed at attracting Families, is part of an Army-wide program to keep children reading and learning over the summer, a season when often American children, away from structured education, slip academically.
Jessica McGee, the librarian for the Hohenfels community, said the program provides children scholastic benefits.
"It combats summer gap – that's the importance of summer reading," said McGee. "That and the enjoyment in reading."
While outside children blew bubbles and drew chalk art, inside Families painted rocks with faces and other designs. The library staff would later use these rocks in a friendship garden.
Throughout the program, the library has several fun activities planned for Families from week to week. There is a scavenger hunt planned with clues delivered week to week. During another event, a member of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation team will read a story using American Sign Language with a workbook activity afterward to help the audience learn ASL. One week's theme is superheroes. Another week the library focuses on music, and the children get to make spinning drums and tambourines. The week after, the children incorporate those same spin drums and tambourines into a Family musical performance.
The program continues through July 31, but the final event at the Hohenfels library is scheduled for July 26, when the street is blocked off again for a sidewalk chalk competition.
McGee also wants parents and children to know that logging reading time is not limited to being at home. Participants can log the hours they read on vacation, while driving and listening to audio books, while reading to their children before they go to sleep and more.
"It doesn't matter if they're here in Hohenfels, if they're on vacation and they're reading, since it's an app that's portable, they can log their minutes from no matter where they are," she said. "Prizes will be here at the end of the summer, so they can still come and get them any time."
To log in, community members at Hohenfels can visit http://turnbullmemorial.beanstack.org/reader365, register themself and their Family members, and begin logging hours.
To learn more about the program at Hohenfels, visit the page here.
To read more on the Army MWR summer reading program, visit the page here.
To learn more about the Turnbull Memorial Library at Hohenfels, visit the page here.