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Family Matters Blog: DOD Program Inspires Kids to Read

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2011 – The day after school let out for the summer, I raced to find activities to fill those long, lazy days of summer for my 2-, 7- and 9-year-old.

While I want my kids to relax and enjoy their time off, my 7-year-old, in particular, has a couch-potato tendency that I struggle to contain. If I let him, he’d be happy to plant himself in front of the TV, remote in hand, and not budge until the fall school bell rings.

With that and my ever-shrinking budget in mind, I first searched for free community activities and lucked out by finding a great summer reading program at my local library. My kids simply have to read books, keep track of them on a log, and then can participate in weekly activities and earn small prizes.

As an added bonus, reading will help keep their minds sharp. Studies indicate there’s a significant summertime loss in literacy and learning if kids stop reading. And, according to one study, students who read over the summer scored better in reading achievement tests in the fall, and had better literacy and analytical skills.

Aware of these benefits, Defense Department libraries have launched a DOD-wide summer reading program in the hopes of inspiring children -- and adults -- of all ages to read this summer.

Visitors to libraries on 270 military installations around the world are invited to join “A Midsummer Knight’s Read,” an activity-packed reading program with a medieval twist.

Libraries can customize the program to suit local needs, but weekly activities may include candle-making, planting an herb garden, learning to weave, creating a sorcerer’s hat and ballad writing. Snacks range from smothered bread and chocolate toads to dragon’s breath candy mix and medieval gingerbread.

The program inspires a love of reading in children, said Margie Buchanan, libraries division chief for the Air Force Services Agency, and “the activities offer them a chance to learn more about arts and crafts and music.”

For more on this program, read my American Forces Press Service article, “DOD Libraries Launch Summer Reading Program.” You also can stop by your local library or visit the program’s website. Military families who aren’t near a base can email dodsumread@navy.mil to find out how to participate.

For more family-related posts, visit Family Matters blog or check out Family Matters on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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