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Scott members embrace “Read Out Loud” initiative

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing, Public Affairs
Members stationed at Scott Air Force Base have taken the "Read Out Loud" initiative into their own hands this year, as they embark on the second year of reading books to a local elementary school.

According to the principal Nathan Rakers, Whiteside Elementary always has the second, third and fourth graders read silently in the auditorium before school begins, but the younger grades would watch education videos in the gym. Rakers thought it would be more educational for the children to have books read during that time so he reached out Tech. Sgt Brent Kolves from Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

"At the beginning of last school year,[2010] I was approached by principal Rakers who thought it would be more beneficial to the before school program children to have books read out loud rather than them watch TV while waiting for classes to be in session," said Kolves, Scott NCO Council, member at large.

Kolves then began the process of reaching out to the NCO council members for volunteers. Initially he just gave them the principals, Nathan Rakers, phone number but when he began to receive so many individual requests, it was decided a program needed be started to manage it. That is when the Whiteside Reading Program evolved.

"We did not expect the amount of volunteers we received, as they were coming Tech. Sgt. Christopher Cugier, NCO Council vice president reached out to me and we decided to make the process a little more organized, by appointing persons of contact and a calendar," said Kolves.

Kolves' immediate goal was to be able to allow local military members the chance to get involved with the local community. But reading out loud also allows the children a chance to meet the military and also provides an educational opportunity.

"It's important for kids to hear a story from an actual book," said Kolves. "With society being more and more dependent on TV and computers it's nice for them to hear a story. I remember as a kid when teachers would read to me and how much I enjoyed when they would raise and lower their voice to match the story, it brings the children audience into the story. Kids in this rush society need people to sit down, talk to them and encourage face to face communication."

This year's program offers opportunities to read, Tuesday, Wednesday, and
Thursday from 8 to 8:15 a.m.

"Last year we had only two days available Tuesday and Thursday but because the high volume of volunteers, this year we decided to add an extra day," said Rakers.

In the future the school would like to include comprehension test for points based on the books read.

"Military folks should be involved because its 15 minutes out of your day that could make a huge impact to kids, I won't say we are celebrities but the kids really look up to military members in uniform as such. It's something the children and the military members will remember too.

For more information or to volunteer contact TSgt Brent Kolves at 256-3689.