by Katie Peterson, Fort Leavenworth Lamp –
The Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Library’s summer reading program kicked off June 1 and continues through July 27. The 2018 theme is “Reading Takes You Everywhere.”
More than 150 children and parents were greeted with a starter bag, which included themed tattoos, bookmarks, pencils and a passport to be stamped at each activity station. Activity stations included Lego building, a photo booth, colorable postcard station and a car trip survival kit creation station.
Dan Barbuto, CARL library technician specializing in children’s literature, said the summer reading program helps avoid a summer slide in reading skills.
“When kids go for three months without dedicated reading, there is a noticeable dip in their proficiency. Summer reading programs help avoid that,” Barbuto said. “Using incentives and fun to encourage reading makes for better readers come school time in the fall.”
Each week, participants from toddlers to adults can track their minutes through an online log and earn incentives such as a beach ball globe and chances to earn even larger prizes in a raffle sponsored by the Command and General Staff College Foundation.
Since 2011, the CGSC Foundation has been a large contributor in the funding of the program, Barbuto said.
“I can’t overstate the importance of the (CGSC foundation in making the (summer reading program) as good as it is, as well as allowing us to do programming at all during the rest of the year,” he said. “The foundation is under no obligation to help CARL. They choose to be generous to us and that is why we appreciate this relationship between the library and the foundation so much.”
Barbuto said the summer reading program also helps families in the process of leaving or coming to Fort Leavenworth.
“(It is) a great opportunity for people leaving post to have something to do in that period of waiting to actually move and likewise for new families whose household goods may not have arrived there yet,” he said.
Navy Lt. Ruben Maldonado, CGSC student and father of 9-year-old Eila, said he felt the reading program had different benefits for parents and children.
“For the parents, it provides an opportunity to get your kids to do something fun and educational at the same time. So, that’s a win,” Maldonado said. “For the kids, it’s an opportunity they need. It’s a low-threat environment so it’s at their pace with a little bit of encouragement from the parents. It’s something they can build on over the summer.”
Eila said her favorite books to read are comics.
“I like that they have a lot of pictures,” she said. “I like to read in the summer if I have free time.”
Valerie Poggio, mother of 7-year-old Robert and 4-year-old Ethan, said she thinks summer reading helps keep children engaged.
“It gives them a goal to work toward and it makes reading fun for them, which is important,” Poggio said. “They participated last summer (and) they loved it. They challenged each other and worked harder to get their minutes and enjoyed challenging the minutes. The prizes were just bonus.”
Robert said he likes reading about dinosaurs the most.
“I get curious about what they eat or what was a dinosaur, so then I started to read about them and started to say, ‘hmm, that’s interesting,’” he said. “What I like most about reading is it gets your brain focused into answering the questions and it’s like locking it in there like you’re doing a homework project.
“You have to read because you will still have work for summer so I think it’s important to read to show-off that you’re ready for third (grade),” he said.
Julie Morelli, mother of 4-year-old Cora, said she thinks the program is just as beneficial for the library.
“Libraries are slowly becoming a thing of the past because people aren’t coming as much because of all the online things,” Morelli said. “So, I think it’s good to keep people coming in and keep kids entertained and coming in because it’s fun for them to look at books in the library.”
To sign up for the summer reading program and get access to reading logs, visit carl.beanstack.org any time through the duration of the program. This is the second year for the online access.
“(We got) great feedback from last year,” Barbuto said. “Parents seemed to agree it was more convenient than trying to keep track of a written log.”
Besides the reading program, there will also be a Lego Club at 2 p.m. June 7 and 23, and July 7 and 21 in the children’s room.
Library bingo will go on throughout the summer with sheets available at the circulation desk.
Hide-and-seek book giveaways will be available each week in the children’s room, the young adult and adult sections of the library courtesy of the CGSC Foundation. Limit one book per family per week.
The summer reading program wrap-up celebration featuring Drum Safari begins at 2 p.m. July 27.
For more information, call CARL at (913) 758-3053.
Editor’s Note: This story appeared in the June 7 edition of the Fort Leavenworth Lamp.
The staff and trustees of the CGSC Foundation would like to thank our sponsors of the Foundation’s family support programs of which the youth reading programs are a part: