National Young Readers Day: Area Business People Read to 22,000 Children at 35 Schools

| November 15, 2012 | 0 Comments | Education

Susan Reynolds of Tastefully Simple reads "The Worst Day of My Life, Ever" to Stephanie McCarthy's third grade class at Loch Lomond Elementary.

The Prince William and Manassas Chamber of Commerce recognized National Young Readers Day with 444 local volunteers reading to students at local elementary schools on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Nearly 22,000 students from 35 schools in Prince William County, City of Manassas and Manassas Park benefited from visitors, who read to them from children’s books.

Denyse Carroll, Chair of the Prince William Chamber’s Education Committee, has managed the event for the past seven years, helping it grow from just five schools to the 35 schools that participate today. She said that they try to expand the number of schools each year, but will give priority to Title I schools in the area.

Though not all volunteers were chamber members, most were local business people, both independent entrepreneurs and corporate representatives. Some local high school students also volunteered their time, reading at nearby elementary schools.

Shannon Joy of Capital Group Benefits in Gainesville oversaw volunteers at Loch Lomond Elementary and two other schools. She recruited readers primarily from the Gainesville and Brentsville districts, inviting her associates from Bull Run Networking to read at Loch Lomond and  NOVEC employees at Sinclair Elementary School in Manassas.

Bryant Presgrave of PNC Bank in Bristow Center reads to students in Donna Garzione's second grade class at Loch Lomond Elementary.

“I think (the children) love it. I remember being in elementary school, and when someone came into our room to read I thought it was so cool,” Joy said. “I read three times yesterday, and it was just so rewarding.”

Joy said that she read some Thanksgiving themed books the teachers chose from the school libraries. While most teachers had age-appropriate picture books handy, readers were also able to bring items from their own collections. Besides reading aloud, volunteers were encouraged to engage the children by discussing themes in the books, and have them respond to the content and illustrations with their own ideas and opinions.

And even though the children read every day in school, Joy believes it is a nice treat to have community members read along with them.

“I think it encourages them to read. I think they think it’s cool when someone comes to visit,” Joy said.

Shelly Reagan, Teacher on Administrative Assignment at Loch Lomond Elementary in Manassas, agreed. “They give good

Kindergarteners in Susan Briscoe's class at Loch Lomond listen attentively to the story of "The Rainbow Fish" by J. Alison James.

attention to the visitors, because it’s good to hear from a different voice.”

School Secretary Judy Almond said she read a few years ago and found it to be enjoyable for both students and readers.

“It’s something different that continues to enhance their educational day,” Almond said.

Visitors to Loch Lomond were equally satisfied with their experience reading to the children.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Candy Verrilli of Vanilla Orchid Catering. “I got the older kids. In Mrs. Scotto’s class, they were responsive; I asked them questions. I would definitely do it again.”




© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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