News: Children read over 2,000 books in 30 days during Joint Base Read-a-Thon
Story by Robert W. Mitchell
JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING - In an effort to improve child literacy while boosting interest in book reading overall, the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) Child Development Center (CDC) held its first read-a-thon drawing several children and parents to the event.
“One of our goals [at the CDC] is to have a partnership with the parents of the children where they are active in their child’s reading development,” said read-a-thon organizer, Cecillia Kitson.
Kitson, who is also a CDC training and curriculum specialist, said the “Wild About Reading” read-a-thon achieved that goal.
“It really caused parents to get more involved in their child’s reading. They were really excited to participate,” she said.
CDC’s initial goal for the read-a-thon was for readers to finish 500 books over a four-week period. But children and their parents read more than four times that amount as more people signed up, according to Kitson.
“It even got a little competitive,” she said.
Collectively, read-a-thon participants read 2,151 books during the 30-day period, according to Kitson.
Navy Lt. Shaka Thorne, an attorney at JBAB, said he enjoyed being a part of the read-a-thon with his daughter because it encouraged them to spend quality time together for a great cause.
“It provided an opportunity for us to sit down and read together, which is what we should be doing already. Any excuse for us to read more, is a good thing,” Thorne said.
Thorne and his daughter read several books during the read-a-thon including the “Gingerbread Man” and the paperback version of the Disney movie, “Frozen.” His daughter recommended that book, he said.
“We really had a good time reading the books during the read-a-thon,” Thorne said.
The CDC chose a safari theme for the read-a-thon to attract more people to the event, according to training and curriculum specialist, Pearl Loftlin who also organized the event.
“I found the ‘Wild About Reading’ idea online and I thought it would be great way to get everyone excited about reading,” she said.
Loftlin enjoyed hosting an activity that, she says, proved to be fun and meaningful for both parents and children.
“It was a lot of fun gathering and creating the materials for the read-a-thon,” she said.
During the read-a-thon, the reading progress was documented on log sheets provided by teachers at the CDC. Once the logs were complete, the center posted the names of the readers and the titles of the books read on tags with safari animals and fruit. The tags were put on display throughout the center.
The children were grouped into different categories designated by a specific animal and a specific fruit. Infants (who had books read to them) had their names and titles of books read placed on animal tags with monkey faces and fruit tags with bananas. For the pre-toddler group, their names and book titles were on tags with meerkat faces and tags with mango fruit. For the toddler group, names and book titles were on zebra animal tags and pineapple fruit tags. And for the preschool group, names and book titles were on elephant animal tags and coconut fruit tags.
Kitson said the overall interest in the event has had a positive impact on the military and civilian community at JBAB.
“A lot of people came back to the center to express their happiness with the read-a-thon,” she said.
The read-a-thon had a positive impact on the reading abilities of the children who participated, according to Loftlin said. She said looks forward to setting up another read-a-thon in the future.
“It was great having this for the kids,” she said.