Reading is so delicious!
Team Andrews members enjoy arts and crafts, computer games, gift-bag giveaways and a smorgasbord of books during opening day of the Summer Reading program at the Joint Base Andrews library on June 18, 2012. The Summer Reading Program motivates, inspires and teaches individuals of all ages to read as much as possible.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Amber Russell)
by Senior Airman Amber Russell
11th Wing Public Affairs
6/22/2012 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS Md. -- Team Andrews community members of all ages appeared eager to ingest knowledge at the Joint Base Andrews library as they signed up for the Summer Reading Program at the kick-off party event held from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. on June 18. The Summer Reading Program here lasts through Aug. 11.
The theme for the DoD sponsored program, 'Reading is so Delicious,' encouraged an appetite for an overall healthy lifestyle at the event. The library decorations emphasized exercising and proper nutrition for the body and mind.
During the event, participants enjoyed arts and crafts, computer games, gift-bag giveaways and a smorgasbord of books.
Once participants sign up for the program, three basic steps lead to success.
The first step is to READ! Next, readers must add completed titles of what they have read to the reading log that comes in their gift bags. The final step is to simply return the completed log to the library and pick up a prize and a new reading log.
The turnout for the kick-off event aimed to motivate people to read was significant.
"We have been swamped today," said Sarah Wolfe, the Andrews library technician. "I think the summer reading program is the most fun to have in the summer because reading is entertaining and keeps learning fresh throughout the summer season."
Volunteers, like high school student Jenna Pearson, give their time to this summer reading program, which can benefit them in return.
"This is my third summer volunteering," said Pearson. "It is great that I can help out and also receive credit hours to put on my resume."
For students beginning their summer vacation, reading can serve as an escape to faraway places and awaken the imagination. More notably, the program helps students read at and above their current reading level.
"I wanted to join the Summer Reading Program so next year when I start seventh grade, I'll have even more experience reading than I do now," said Jazmyn Brown Washington, Summer Reading Program participant.
Whether its fiction, non-fiction or historical, Jazmyn's palate for reading is mature for her age.
"I like reading historical books like Romeo and Juliet," said Jazmyn. "I also love fiction. My favorite author is Jim Benton; he wrote my favorite book series 'Dear Dumb Diary.' It's not for my age group but I love whatever I read."
Not only does this fundamental reading program benefit young students who want to become better readers; it serves as a great start for children in pre-school and kindergarten learning how to read. It is also a great help for people learning to speak English as a second language.
"This wonderful program is an asset to the community," said Sheryl Gritton, supervisory librarian. "I have witnessed kindergartners learn to read before school begins. I have also seen international people who can't speak English become much more proficient by the end of the summer because they've been read to so much."
Sadly, due to lack of funding, supporters of this fulfilling program may be left hungry for the knowledge that it brings as the next summer season rolls around.
"We have an awesome program here," said Gritton. "Last year, participants read 11,000 books in eight weeks. Unfortunately, it could be gone as early as Sept. 1. The funding for the program just doesn't seem to be available."
Gritton said support from First Lady Michelle Obama for reading program initiatives like the Summer Reading Program here, have kept the program alive up until now.
Team Andrews readers may have to satisfy their hunger for knowledge independent of the Summer Reading Program in the future.
The sage advice of soon-to-be seventh grade Jazmyn can be taken as daily bread.
"I think everybody should read even if they just hate reading," said Jazmyn. "It is a good idea to read 20 minutes a day."