JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
The 2013 "Have Book - Will Travel" Summer Reading Program participants at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph wrapped their 2-month venture July 27 with a party at the base library.
Altogether, 336 children, 41 teenagers and 190 adults - whose main job was to encourage their children - read a total of 790 books for 103,276 minutes, Gail Trevino, Randolph program librarian, said, calling this year's program "very successful."
Among the junior readers were Air Force Personnel Center Maj. Carl Bhend's four children, ages 3 to 12, and whose father considers it a "top priority" for them to read, read, read and read.
"Reading is fundamental to education, and education is fundamental to being a productive member of society," Bhend said.
His 12-year-old son, Noah, who said he likes surprises, found books about adventure, fantasy and realistic fiction are his favorites.
Another parent, Nadia Freeman, mother of a 5-year-old daughter, echoed Bhend's sentiment about the valuable learning children get from reading books.
Freeman registered her child, Reyah, in the summer reading program to prepare her daughter for school. Reyah read 85 books this summer.
"Reyah will start kindergarten this year, so it was important to build her vocabulary, which will allow her to express herself better," Freeman said, adding that next summer's goal is to surpass 100 books.
While participants reaped the reward of learning from all the books they read, they were also rewarded with fun and prizes at the wrap-up party, where kids scrambled to different areas of the library for arts and crafts, games, face painting and food.
First-, second- and third-place winners received prizes for bookmark, poster, poetry and story contests in multiple age categories, and every summer reader received a certificate of accomplishment.
"We handed out prizes to a good number of kids for sticking with it," Trevino said. "Everyone won something."
Readers also had an opportunity to use a new online resource to track the number of books and minutes they read as well as post book reviews.
"We received 259 book reviews with great comments to see what the children are reading," Trevino said. "I'm happy and excited to see where this goes next year."