Gov. Sam Brownback wants Leavenworth children to read, and he's willing to reward them for doing so.

Gov. Sam Brownback wants Leavenworth children to read, and he's willing to reward them for doing so.

The governor offered to buy children in the SummerBoost Camp program ice cream if they continue to read this summer.

"Keep on reading because reading opens up the world to you," he said.

Brownback visited the summer program Tuesday at Henry Leavenworth Elementary School.

The SummerBoost Camp is part of the Kansas Reading Roadmap program, a state initiative that focuses on improving children's reading proficiency.

The summer camp, which is being hosted by the Leavenworth School District, provides instruction to about 200 children. The camp is funded at no cost to the district.

Brownback said the objective of the Kansas Reading Roadmap program is to increase reading scores for third- and fourth-graders.

"This is about reading and I need you guys to read," he said to the children at Henry Leavenworth Elementary School.

He said books are fun and can stir imagination.

After his remarks, Brownback handed a business card to Henry Leavenworth Principal Kevin Lunsford so the school district can arrange for the governor to pay for ice cream for the students.

Lunsford also spoke Tuesday. He said the SummerBoost Camp helps ensure students don't fall behind during the summer.

"As educators, we know that students slide during the summer months," he said.

He said students in the five-week SummerBoost Camp are spending six hours a day, five days a week at the school. He said they receive reading and math instruction and participate in science, technology and engineering activities.

Lunsford said healthy nutrition options and physical activity also are key aspects of the summer program.

In the fall, the summer program will transition into an after-school program, he said.
The after-school program in Leavenworth will be one of 45 Kansas Reading Roadmap programs in operation around the state, KRR Project Director Andrew Hysell said.

He said Leavenworth school officials were able to put their summer program together in three weeks.

"They have done such an amazing job getting this program off the ground," he said.

Darlene Dean, youth services program specialist at the Leavenworth Public Library, also spoke Tuesday. She provided information about the library's summer programs.

Mike Roth, new superintendent of Leavenworth public schools, also was on hand Tuesday, his first official day as Leavenworth superintendent.

He told students that the people who had assembled for the ceremony were "here because they care about you."

Following the governor's remarks, Brownback visited classrooms being used for the SummerBoost Camp as well as the school's library.

"I'm impressed," he said after the tour.

He said school officials did a fantastic job of putting together a good program in a short amount of time.

Brownback's visit to Leavenworth came on a day when the Kansas Department for Children and Families and the State Library of Kansas teamed up to host events around the state to highlight the importance of summer reading.