Air Force libraries serve ‘delicious’ summer reading program

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - RANDOLPH, Texas -- The Department of Defense summer reading program returns this month to more than 250 installation libraries, including 74 Air Force libraries, with a goal to encourage and support a love of reading among military children and families.

This year's theme is "Reading is so Delicious!" and library visitors may participate in a range of free activities. Last year's "A Midsummer's Knight's Read" theme inspired military children around the globe to read and dream and resulted in an increase of more than 400 percent in program participation. Air Force library officials hope for similar levels of participation this year.

"We've got a great program planned for a deliciously good time at our libraries this summer," said Margie Buchanan, Air Force Services Agency libraries division chief. "We have programs, activities and books for readers of all ages to have fun and keep reading skills sharp over the summer."

Events at Beale Library include:
-Kickoff with refreshments Saturday, June 2 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., children signing up, beginning with the kickoff, will receive a free T-shirt; themed story time with crafts every 2nd & 4th Wednesday @ 10:30 a.m.;
-Children can read to Bodie the therapy dog for credit toward a free book, Bodie will visit the Library every Thursday @ 10 a.m. beginning June 7, except June 21st & 28th;
-Mother Goose will present a drama theater at the Library July 31 @ 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
-Children ages 2-teens entering the 12th grade are eligible. Ages 2 - 9: Read five Beale Library books and ask for a prize. Those who cannot read yet receive credit for having Library books read to them.
-Ages 10 - teens entering 12th grade: Read 250 pages from a Hub Zemke Library book, then ask for a prize AND enter your name for the drawing held on Saturday, 25 August at 3 pm. The drawing will be for a gift certificate of $10, $15, $20 or $25 and many other valuable prizes. You do not need to be present to win.

The Beale Library Summer Reading Program is sponsored by the Beale Officers' Spouses' Club, Department of Defense, and the Beale Bowling Center.

There's also a serious side to summer reading. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer, Buchanan said.

"Studies indicate students who read recreationally out-performed those who don't," she said. "Students read more when they can choose materials based on their own interests. We hope our children will read for the fun of it - now and throughout their lives. Our summer reading program is an investment in lifelong learning for our children."

Airmen and families will find this DOD-wide program family friendly as it allows those who are moving to new installations to meet other children in their age groups during the summer - thus lessening the stress of being new in their schools.

For more information about the DOD summer reading program, interested participants can stop by a local installation library or visit http://ila.org/dodsumread. Those who are not near an installation can e-mail dodsumread@navy.mil to find out how to participate.