Summer Reading Program Closeout Party

Summer Reading Program Closeout Party
4th of july crafts
Image by US Army Garrison Red Cloud – Casey
By. Franklin Fisher

CAMP CASEY, South Korea – Some of the nearly 100 parents and youngsters who took part in this year’s Summer Reading Program said it helped kids cultivate the all-important skill of reading while affording fun and friendship along the way.

The seven-week program, which met once a week at the Camp Casey Library starting June 28, ended Aug. 18 with a closing party at the post’s Gateway Club. (They skipped one Thursday in observance of the July 4 holiday).

Those taking part were encouraged to read continually and keep a running record of how many minutes they’d read, said Tracey Klippert, supervisory librarian for the Casey enclave libraries.

And they’d meet Thursdays at the library for a range of activities – Klippert would read the kids a story, and there were things like arts and crafts or bowling.

“Our major purpose is to encourage children to read so they can have knowledge, and do better in school,” said Klippert. “Also we just want to encourage families to spend time together and have fun.”

“It was fun, I read a lot,” said Blake Arriaga, 8, who’s entering third grade this year. “It helps me get better at reading. It encouraged me to read better books, like, harder books, because it helps your vocabulary. Reading is really important.”

He read about 20 books, at the third- and fourth-grade level, during the period of the program, said his mother, Olivia Arriaga.

The boy was one of 72 children enrolled this summer, as were 22 adults and four teens. Most of the youngsters ranged in age from about 5 to 11, Klippert said.

This was the first summer Area I opened the program to adults and teens, she said.

The record-keeping was on the honor system. Prizes were available for those who reached the program’s stated goals: for adults and teens, 1,000 minutes; for youngsters, 800 minutes.

Each time an adult or teen reached 250 minutes they could come in to the library and select one of the prizes that were kept in a box. For kids, every 100 minutes of reading allowed a visit to the prize box.

“Studies have shown that children who read during the summer time do better on their testing like in the fall, than children who do not read during the summer,” said Klippert. “They’re better able to retain the knowledge that they’ve learned.”

Blake’s mother said the program is important and valuable.

“First, it gives the children something to look forward to, if they’re not in any sort of camp or vacationing,” she said.

“But also just to keep them engaged in reading, wanting to read, making it fun to read, having educational activities to go along with what they’re reading.”

In Lovi Harvey’s family too, reading is seen as so important a life skill that her children read at least 20 minutes a day. “Sometimes when they’re really into it, they’ll go 40 minutes,” she said.

But she also welcomed the chance it gave her family to get to know fellow-members of the Area I community.

“For me, I thought it was awesome because we just moved here, just over two months ago, and we were looking for ways for our kids to participate in different things, get to know other kids and just socialize,” Harvey said.