By Cathy Rankin
"If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books." -Roald Dahl
For the last eight years, the kids at NMBCH have taken part in the Summer Reading Program. It is led by Shannon Rankin (daughter of Randy and Cathy) and delves into the joy of reading. The kids look forward to this all year and try to get "Miss Shannon" to reveal the books months ahead of time; it has become something of a joke between her and a few of the kids! This summer the 1st-3rd graders are reading Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary, the 4th-7th graders are reading Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, and the high schoolers are reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini.
Well qualified with an English degree, as well as being a city librarian, Shannon began the program in 2012 to encourage the kids' reading skills. In addition, Shannon has other goals she hopes are achieved through reading and discussing the books:
1. To love reading
2. To be able to converse with others respectfully
3. To have fun!
The program functions more as a book club with books the kids will enjoy carefully chosen by grade level. Shannon loves watching the kids open up about their books and get excited about reading. The meetings can get very silly! Most summers, the number of groups varies between three and four. Various aspects of the books are discussed, and teens, in particular, focus on plot, character development, and theme. Over the years, more than thirty books have been read; authors include C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Madeleine L'Engle, Harper Lee, and Roald Dahl. An added perk is the movie nights Shannon hosts for each group; her only requirement is for the movies to be based on books.
Kids are rewarded monthly for reading with points for behavior, attendance, discussion, and reading. A big Reading Awards Night is held at the end of the summer. The whole campus attends a dessert fellowship and cheers on the kids who have finished. Awards given include the Certificate of Completion, Awesome Attitude, Most Improved, and the coveted Excellence Award, which is usually given to several kids. Shannon anticipates this program all year. She knows that the more the kids read, their possibilities in the future will be brighter.
"Keep reading. It's one of the most marvelous adventures anyone can have." -Lloyd Alexander