Lejeune reading program fun; hones skills

14 Jul 2009 | Sgt. T.D. Smith

The last bell has rung for the school year and summer revelry is the focus of youngsters everywhere. While mindless entertainment might be the children’s intent, Camp Lejeune’s Harriotte B. Smith Library is getting kids to center there attention on fun that will improve their reading skills.

The summer reading program kicked off with a magic show, featuring local magician, Jeff Jones, at Marston Pavilion, June 16. Children were entertained with balloon twisting and illusions at the event held to get them excited about the library and the services it offers.

This year’s SRP theme for preschoolers to 12-years-old is “Be Creative @ Your Library” and “Express Yourself @ Your Library” for youth ages 13 to 18-years-old.

“We want kids to know the library isn’t a place where they are constantly told to shush, but rather it is a place to have fun,” said Judy Bradford, a program coordinator with the Harriotte B. Smith Library. “We are using the Summer Reading Program and events, like the kick off, to do that.”

Kids, at the event, were definitely not being quiet or being told to keep it down as they giggled and cheered while the magician performed.  Jones captivated the children with illusions, such as mind reading and turning three scarves into a large American flag. The youngsters were also introduced to the illusionist’s assistants Abra, the bird, and Trixi, the bunny.

Even though fun activities and events draw the children in, reading is still the focus of the program and kids receive rewards for logging there reading progress. Some of the prizes they may get for spending time reading are stickers, candy and temporary tattoos, but there is an even greater reward to be had.

“It really isn’t about the prizes,” said Bradford. “The kids are more rewarded by the recognition of their accomplishments.”

Although getting prizes and watching a magician can be a great time, some prefer to pick up a book. One attendee at the kick off likes to take it even farther than that.

“I can juggle up to ten books at a time,” said Kimberly Burns, a SRP participant. “I don’t have a problem keeping the stories straight, because I never forget what I read. It’s like I have my own big library in my head.”

When she isn’t scanning the library in her head, she is out on a mission for the next great read or tracking down another book in a series.

“Sometimes I can’t find what I’m looking for in the stores,” said Burns. “I can’t stop till I find what I’m looking for, because I love to read. It makes my imagination soar and I can go anywhere. I go to the (base) library when I can’t find a book I need and they always have it.”

You might not be able to physically go anywhere this summer vacation, but thanks to the local library, you can go as far as your imagination will take you. For more information on the reading program call Judy Bradford at 451-3026.