(Katie Peterson/Fort Leavenworth Lamp)
Children of all ages played with plastic building blocks, took a photo in front of a green screen, had a dance party, made a guitar craft, had their faces painted and registered for the summer reading program during the Combined Arms Research Library Summer Reading Program Kick-off May 24, 2019, at the library.
The program runs through July 31.
“One of the biggest motivators for libraries to host summer reading programs is to prevent the summer slide,” said Nora Walker, CARL community library technician. “We hope to prevent the decline in reading and other academic skills during the summer months so they’re better prepared for the next schoolyear.”
Maj. Camille Acred, Command and General Staff Officer Course student, said the summer reading program gives her daughter, 9-year-old Ariel, something to do during the summer.
“It is good for them to know that there is a free resource that is full of books and audiobooks and even movies, so that aspect is good because this is a really good library,” Acred said. “You have somewhere to go when there is not a routine or other activities going on, and (Ariel) plays with other kids like at Lego Club.”
The 2019 theme is “Showtime at Your Library,” which spans all Department of Defense libraries, a bonus for children whose families may be moving this summer.
“This means your accrued reading minutes travel with you, and since it is the same overall theme, they’ll be able to jump into the program at their new installation’s library,” Walker said.
During the program, children log their weekly minutes read in hopes of earning badges, which allow them to get prizes at the library.
“CARL hopes to inspire enthusiasm in literacy by providing fun activities to bring folks into the library and incentives for reading,” Walker said. “The prize incentive is designed to keep advanced and beginning readers motivated so nobody feels left out or behind.”
Some of the featured prizes include drawstring bags and light-emitting diode drinking glasses.
“We have separate prizes for toddlers, children, teens and adults,” Walker said. “The (Command and General Staff College) Foundation has provided funding for prizes and entertainment this year.”
Maj. Daniel Weiss, an analyst at The Research and Analysis Center, and father to 11-year-old Alex, 10-year-old Amelia, 7-year-old Lucy and 3-year-old Evie, said the incentives provide initiative.
“The kids like coming in here anyway,” he said, “but I think for the summer reading program itself, one that they have a goal and two that there is a tangible (prize) at the end, is great.”
Command Sgt. Maj. James Bryant, School for Command Preparation facilitator and father to 8-year-old Jasmine, said the program also introduces children to the library in general.
“I just got her an actual library card, so now she’s getting that experience where she can get as many (books) as she wants as often as she wants,” Bryant said. “This is what a library can do for you.
“Reading was my weakness, so I want to turn that into her strength,” he said. “That way she does not genetically have that foundation after me.”
Jasmine Bryant said she loves to read.
“It is fun and I get to learn new things,” she said, citing “Bad Kitty” by Nick Bruel as her favorite book. “It has historical illustrations in it.”
Sisters Simone Allen, 4, and Roxy Allen, 6, both had their favorite books, too.
Simone said she likes “Elephant and Piggie” by Mo Willems.
“They’re funny,” she said.
Roxy said she likes “Ultimate Collector’s Guide (Beanie Boos)” by Meredith Rusu.
“(Beanie Boos) are very cute and they’re very cuddly to me,” Roxy said. “I like to read because if I want to read a book and my mom’s working, I could read by myself.”
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.
Besides the reading program, CARL will also host Lego Club for all ages from 4-5 p.m. June 6, June 20 and July 18.
The Pages to Screen Movie Club for ages 10 and up is 1:30-3:30 p.m. June 4, 18 and 25 and July 2, 9, 16 and 23.
The summer reading program wrap-up celebration is 2-3:30 p.m. July 26.
For more information, call CARL at (913) 758-3053.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the Fort Leavenworth Lamp print and online edition on May 30, 2019.