Reading pays off in more ways than one.
Nobody knows that better than the children who register in the Fort Lewis library system’s Summer Reading Program and meet the requirements to win prizes. All pre-readers who were read to for at least 400 minutes and readers who read at least 600 minutes were invited to the annual ice-cream party July 18 at Grandstaff Library.
First, all the children formed a long line to have free photos taken with Curious George, hosted by KBTC, a local Public Broadcasting Service TV station.
“This is our fifth year out here,” said Sherri Stanton, membership director, for the station. “We got a grant to encourage literacy and help kids start school ready to learn ... and this is one of our favorite events.”
Angie Morales said her two sons, Carlos, 5, and Daniel, 8, have always loved Curious George.
“There’s a whole series of Curious George books, and they have read all of them,” she said. “Carlos even dressed up like him for Halloween.” Following the children’s visit with Curious George, youth volunteers served more than 100 bowls of ice cream with various caramel and fudge toppings.
“They used eight half-gallon boxes that were generously donated once again by the Fort Lewis commissary,” said Georgia G. Cartner, children’s specialist, Book Patch Library.
Most of the youth volunteers, ranging in age from 12 to 17, volunteer two to three days a week for about four hours per day, but individual schedules vary.
“Six of our volunteers were here last year and returned again this year,” said Bonnie Tucker, chief librarian, Fort Lewis Library System.
Dennis Ricalde, a home-schooled student who will be a senior, said he volunteered two years in a row just because it’s fun and the people at the library are so nice.
Christine Sloan, who will be a senior at Curtis High School, has been volunteering at the library even longer.
“I’ve volunteered here for five years because it gives me something to do in the summer,” said Sloan, who enjoys reading the Gossip Girl stories.
“I’m actually required to do a lot of reading for my AP (Advanced Placement) English class,” she said.
In addition to helping with special summer reading events like the ice cream party, the teen volunteers register summer readers, pass out prizes, help children find and shelve books, assist with the Wednesday activities and many other duties.
“Some popular new book series are: Harry Potter, Guardians of GaHoole and the Warriors,” Cartner said. “We have ordered seven copies of the new Harry Potter book: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.’” Those copies were expected to arrive by the July 21 release date. Older series, she said, are still popular, as well, such as Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and The Boxcar Children.