4:44 p.m., Aug. 29, 2008--The UD Outdoor Pool's staff decided to try to keep its younger members' minds sharp during the doldrums of summer this year with their first-ever Summer Reading Challenge.
The program began when James Kaden, manager of the Fred Rust Ice Arena and Outdoor Pool, watched his son take part in a similar program at his school. “The idea was a combination of two things. My son did one at his school with the Wilmington Blue Rocks and so we kind of piggy-backed off of that idea,” Kaden said.
The other catalyst was Kaden and his staff deciding that since UD is an educational institution first and foremost, it would be a good idea to have a program that rewarded kids' in their educational endeavors. “Our goal was to get the kids to read during the summer when they're not in school and keep them reading throughout the summer.”
The kids were encouraged to read eight books, roughly one a week, during the program and to write down each book on a flyer, which their parents would then sign. As an incentive to read, Kaden and his staff offered free pool passes, which could be used to bring friends and neighbors to the pool.
The program, which ran from June 9-Aug. 1, was open to students in grades K-12, though the target demographic was ages 7-12.
Books popular with the young readers included Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane Degroat, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
Kaden said that he also hopes to start these reading programs in both the “Learn to Play Hockey” and “Learn to Skate” programs held at the Rust Ice Arena.
For more information about the skating programs, visit [www.udel.edu/icearena/].