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Moody encourages summer reading

Children sit and listen to a story in the library June 20, 2012, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Story time is aimed at children as young as 3 years old to get them interested in reading at a young age. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel/Released)

Children sit and listen to a story in the library June 20, 2012, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Story time is aimed at children as young as 3 years old to get them interested in reading at a young age. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel/Released)

Erin Pearson, 23d Force Support Squadron head library clerk and storyteller, hands a book to a child in the library for the Summer Reading Program June 20, 2012, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Older children check out their own books and come in once a week to get their book log stamped, tracking how much they read. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel/Released)

Erin Pearson, 23d Force Support Squadron head library clerk and storyteller, hands a book to a child in the library for the Summer Reading Program June 20, 2012, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Older children check out their own books and come in once a week to get their book log stamped, tracking how much they read. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel/Released)

A child gets their hand stamped for participating in story time at the library June 20, 2012, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. This theme for this year’s iREAD Summer Reading Program is, “Reading is so Delicious.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel/Released)

A child gets their hand stamped for participating in story time at the library June 20, 2012, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. This theme for this year’s iREAD Summer Reading Program is, “Reading is so Delicious.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel/Released)

Erin Pearson, 23d Force Support Squadron head library clerk and storyteller, reads a picture book to children in the storytelling room at the library June 20, 2012, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Story time is part of the Summer Reading Program, which encourages children to continue reading over the summer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel/Released)

Erin Pearson, 23d Force Support Squadron head library clerk and storyteller, reads a picture book to children in the storytelling room at the library June 20, 2012, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Story time is part of the Summer Reading Program, which encourages children to continue reading over the summer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel/Released)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- More than a dozen children gathered in the storytelling room of the Moody Library June 20 as part of the library's Summer Reading Program.

The Summer Reading Program is a seven-week program that offers story time for younger children, while older children and adults can pick their own books to read.

"The goal of the program is to keep kids reading through the summer," said Erin Pearson, 23d Force Support Squadron head library clerk and storyteller. "Nine times out of 10, when children get out of school, they are done with homework, and they don't want to read anything. The prizes aren't based on how much they read, rather that they just continue reading. This keeps them interested because they actually get a prize for reading."

An interest in reading isn't the only benefit of story time. For the parents of younger children, this is an opportunity to prepare their children for school.

"I brought the little ones to keep them busy and get them used to being around children outside their normal friends," said Melinda Cope, spouse of U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Adam Cope. "I think that just being able to sit still and listen prepares them for school.

"I think it is a great program," she added. "I have had friends attend, and they have all said great things about it."

Unlike many other programs, the children are not restricted to books on a predetermined list and can choose any book they like. Every week, the children come in to get their book log stamped and check out any additional books they want to read.

"It's all about family readiness," said Pearson. "It all comes down to supporting the mission and keeping families active on Moody. Also, with the education office nearby, a lot of parents will check out books for their children and either go to classes or check out the education office."

Story time is interactive for the children, who answer questions, repeat sentences, and dance and sing along to songs after the reading.

"The picture books get the younger children interested," said Pearson. "That's why we start the program when they are only 3 years old. Even though they technically are not reading, their parents are reading to them.

"Most parents come in, check out 20 books at a time, and read five to 10 books a night to their children," she added. "It's always good to get them started young because when they get older, they will hopefully continue reading."

Story time is held year-round, with seasonal themed readings. The program is part of the library's ongoing effort to promote lifelong learning and education.

"We do it in hopes that they will continue reading and using their minds, as opposed to looking at the TV all day," said Pearson.