FORT STEWART, Ga. - Story time is a favorite pastime for youngsters and, for one community leader, story time and reading goes hand-in-hand in the fundamentals of early childhood education. Guest reader Al Williams, state representative for district 165 Liberty County, visited Fort Stewart's Child, Youth and School Services' newest Child Development Center, Oct. 6.

Williams read children's literature in a classroom setting as the young students sat quietly on the rug during story time. The storybook pages illustrated a young llama's affection for his mother, in which the story also reflected elements of rhyme and onomatopoeia.

"Reading is such a necessary and fundamental part of growth," Williams said. "I'm privileged to be able to [read to them]. The statistics are just terrifying on how poorly we read as a country. The sooner we start reading, enjoying and falling in love with reading, the better students we become and, consequently, the better country we will have."

Williams stressed the importance of reading amongst youth. He shared that reading and education are critical building blocks in children's growth process.

He added, the invitation to read to Third Infantry Division children was an honor for him.

"You can't turn down children," he said. "You learn early in life, don't ever turn down senior citizens and children. I'm just excited to be here. It is my privilege to be here."

Williams said that he might just live 10 more years because of his experience being with children at Fort Stewart one Thursday morning.

After treating the pre-schoolers to a special story time session, the students treated Williams with a surprise, a personalized poster.

When asked whether he had a final message for the community, he stated that the CDC was wonderful.

"I think this is a wonderful facility," he responded. "It is obvious that a good job is being done here for our leaders of tomorrow. You have to start early. We find that the earlier the education catches on, the fewer problems we have later in life. If we can educate them now, we don't incarcerate them later.