By Amanda Ensinger
The Prairie Township Fire Department will be bringing back its Reading with the Firefighters program this summer after a short hiatus.
Kicking off at 7 p.m. on July 11, the reading program will take place at the Prairie Township Fire Department Station 241, 123 Inah Ave.
“This will be the third year we have done this program,” said Matt Powers, program organizer and township firefighter. “The program will be offered to children ages 2 to 10 years old.”
The program will last for five weeks and will also take place July 18, July 25, Aug. 1 and Aug. 8.
“Last year we didn’t do this program, but this year we brought it back because of the requests from the community,” Powers said. “We received a lot of requests asking us to offer it this year.”
According to Powers, approximately 10 to 30 kids participate during each reading. Powers also added that the program is not the same as the reading program the community center is offering.
“This is completely different from their program,” Powers said.
The Prairie Township Community Center recently kicked off their own summer reading program.
“Our program is completely free and no registration is required,” Powers said. “Each week we will read a different book and will have an activity offered the corresponds with the book.”
Powers said the books will be chosen based on the participating children’s ages and foresees having some books aimed at toddlers, other books aimed at the middle age children and a few books aimed at the oldest children participating.
When deciding the ages of the children who could participate, Powers said they had to look at comprehension level, as well as interest.
“Two years old seemed like the perfect age to start because they are able to sit through a story,” he said. “Ten years old seemed like the appropriate age to cut the program off because kids past this age want to read chapter books.”
Powers said the reason the fire department originally started the program and has continued it is because they want to encourage children to read while on summer break from school.
“When kids are out of school reading can sometimes go to the way side,” he said. “Even when school is not in, it is important to read every night. We want to promote that.”
Powers also said reading through the summer would help children prepare for the upcoming school year and help them build upon the skills they have already learned.
“We are thrilled we have been able to bring this program back this summer,” he said. “Reading is one of the most fundamental skills a person can have, so we are excited to spread this message to area children.”
For more information on the Reading with the Firefighters program, contact Matt Powers at 614-878-7100.