MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Kids out of school for their summer break looked forward to a summer filled with fun, vacations and playing with friends. But for some, they spent part of their summer in the reading program at the Base Library.
Such is the case with the 89 children ranging in age from four – 12 who participated in the Base Library’s summer reading club and read at least one book.
The participants were recognized during an awards ceremony Saturday in the Bingo Room at the Crossroads Restaurant.
Amos Tookes, librarian, Marine and Family Services, Marine Corps Community Services, said, “Every year we honor the kids and give out special awards for reading. Every child who reads at least one book gets a certificate. It motivates them to continue to read and the top readers receive a trophy. This year, an additional trophy will be given to the winner of the mask design contest.”
“Reading is very important because you can’t move forward if you don’t know how to read. It helps you expand your knowledge base and it is a great thing to learn how to read as early as you can. That is what we try to emphasize with our summer program and we want the kids to continue reading now that they are in school,” Tookes said.
The guest speaker for the award ceremony was Heather Miner, second vice president of the Officers’ Spouses Club.
“Reading is very important, especially when we live in a world where everyone is talking on cell phones, texting and tweeting. Sometimes we forget that we need to take a step back and use our imagination, but reading a book is going to be the best way to do that,” Miner said.
“You can be creative and explore the world and go other places by simply turning the pages in a book from the comfort of your own home. The reading programs have a lot of benefits because you read books and hear stories and you really want to let the kids know to keep on going. Giving them trophies and certificates is just one way of providing incentives as a means of encouragement,” she said.
Miner’s speech referenced the theater in your mind.
She told the participants that by going to the movies and seeing the special effects, they could do the same thing with books by picturing the scenes in their minds the way they wanted to imagine it, not the way the director of the movie wants you to.
“In our own minds we can have the largest booms, crashes and bangs, because our imaginations are endless. I have found that in my older years, I have started reading for fun again. During college, I was so tired of reading and studying that I almost forgot that there was a whole world of reading out there. I joined a book club with other spouses and it has really opened my eyes to the joys of reading again,” Miner said.
Miner told the participants, “With all of the technology that exists today, we tend to disconnect from the world. It is important to sit down and reconnect with a good book and use our imaginations. I remember as a kid going to my local library and signing up for the reading club. My sisters and I would compete against each other for the prizes.”
“Now that I’m all grown up, I know that the biggest prize was that I grew an imagination by becoming more creative and exploring places in my mind that I could never actually go to. Movies are great, but only in your imagination can you make the effects or characters what you want,” Miner said.
Tookes added that both the Marine Corps and the public libraries had the same theme this year, ‘Be Creative at your library’ because the Marine Corps decided to participate in the national reading program.
“This summer, the new approach allowed for different activities other than reading. It included drawing, painting, recognizing musical instruments and creating a mask. In collaboration with the Child Development Center, we had a very successful program. We had story hour every Tuesday for the 4- to 6-year-olds and a specific book was selected for them. The teacher who read the book, also taught the theme to the kids once they were back in their classrooms. We helped make it interactive because they were given sketches to take back in order to bring the book alive,” Tookes said.