Lights, Camera, Read
|With lights shining brightly and a digital video camera recording, children read a passage or paragraph from their favorite book while their image is on the big screen TV.|
Then I read from my favorite book, Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam. That book was later made into the movie October Sky.
After viewing a short video clip of Homer's first unsuccessful rocket launch, I explain the basics of rocketry before we go outside and launch several 2 liter bottle rockets that are powered by water and air. The program finally features several Estes Rockets that jet into the sky and return softly with a parachute recovery system. My grandson Jeff and his friend Rick served as the launchers and chasers.
The following article was taken from the 2003 July 4th edition of the Bolingbrook Sun.
Rocket program designed to attract
kids, encourage reading
By Lauren B. Kraft
Even though the library
might be the last place kids want to go during the school year, it isn't
just about reading and research during the summer. This week retired
teacher Greg Lopatka brought his model rockets to the Fountaindale
Public Library to teach kids about rocketry and reading.
The Downers Grove resident
read from one of his favorite books, Homer Hickam Jr.'s "Rocket
Boys." The movie "October Sky" was based on the book.
Lopatka showed a video clip of Hickam's first rocket
launch in the yard of his childhood home from the movie "October
Sky." He also encouraged children to read before he brought them
outside to see a model rocket launch.
When he was a teacher in
Chicago, the rocket section of his science classes always riveted his
students, Lopatka said. "Science and rockets were the
easiest things to motivate my students," Lopatka said.
The summer reading program, Lights,
Camera ... Read! is intended to do the same thing for Fountaindale
children. "That's our goal," said Karen T. Anderson,
the district's director. "To bring kids into the library, have some
fun and keep their reading skills going during the summer."
Research shows if children
read throughout the summer, they can keep building on the skills they
learned during the school year, Anderson said. With programs
like Cold Blooded Creatures and Flight of Fantasy, the library district is
looking to entertain as well as educate children.
They'd like to get entire
families into the library to encourage children to read, said Carol
Feldberg, school programs associate for the district.
Even those who aren't signed
up for the free Lights, Camera, Read! can take part in the programs. They
are open for all ages.
The library staff sets out
books based on the subject of each program so children can learn more if
the program piques their interest.
encouraged the children to read "Rocket Boys" before he blasted
off three model rockets that his grandson, Jeff Lopatka, and friend,
Rick Topolewski, retrieved from a field behind the library.
"Most of the
performers, when they come in, the type of entertainment they are doing,
they are always stressing to read books" on the same subject,
For more information about
the reading program, call the library at (630) 759-2102.
Contact staff writer Lauren
B. Kraft at firstname.lastname@example.org or (815) 439-4348.
This picture by the Bolingbrook Sun staff photographer, Nolan Wells, really captures the fascination and wonder of rocketry.
camera is connected to a large screen TV, so that children can see their friends
and themselves read.
I can also take digital still pictures of each child and print them a
souvenir copy that they can take home.
I have a photo quality printer that can do this without much cost. ($25)
I could have them ready in a day or two.
You could then use the pictures as an incentive for the children to show
up at your next event, or at an "end of summer" party.
For more information about my programs, go to my
|In areas where a rocket launch is difficult, we use water and air pressure from a bicycle pump to launch a 2 liter bottle 25-35 feet into the air.|