CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The commanding general reached for a book to read to more than 150 attendees.
The children were so quiet the general’s voice echoed in the room as he read a story of overcoming obstacles and perseverance through adversity.
He shared a tale with children of all ages to provoke inspiration, "Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem."
Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, the commanding general here and regional authority for five Southwestern Marine Corps installations, and Disney Channel’s "Shake it Up" star Adam Irigoyen took turns reading the children’s book to military children during a Books on Bases event here Jan. 26.
One of the best ways to promote literacy in children is to read to and with them, as often as possible according to Blue Star Families website. Blue Star Families is a nonprofit, military family member-driven group.
"This past week, NPR had a story about a study showing interactively reading to children under the age of four can increase their IQ score by up to six points," explained AnnaMaria M. White, the public relations manager for the nonprofit organization.
White said reading helps military children work through the unique challenges they may encounter as a member of a military family, including deployments, separations and moves.
“They’re constantly going to new schools and meeting new friends,” said White. “Reading helps give them some escapism as well as self-expression, and it generally just helps them become more resilient.”
After the reading, the children received free books and participated in arts and crafts; some designing personalized book markers others creating paper swords or braided tiaras, and acting out adventures from their own imaginations.
“My daughter was very excited and happy to receive her new books,” said Katie Rubenacker about 9-year-old Rebecca. “She began reading one of them while we were still there.”
Being an avid reader herself and having recently moved here from Okinawa, Japan with her family, Rubenacker said she recognized the positive impact that the event could have on her children.
White credits some of the Books on Bases program's success to the support from Disney.
The family oriented company agreed to donate 30,000 books to military families and libraries throughout the country and provided approximately 4,000 free books during their visit to Pendleton.
More information about similar Blue Star Families' events and infortmation visit their website