On March 17, In Reach staff and guest readers from Kentland Palmer Park’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNi) celebrated Read Across America day with eager elementary-aged students from the area. Each year, on Dr. Seuss' birthday, March 2, students everywhere celebrate his life and legacy by reading a good book. Inclement weather conditions may have delayed the celebration this year but not the fun of two events enjoyed in one - Dr. Seuss and St. Patrick’s Day. The Kentland Community Center’s Aftercare program services all school-aged students, while most commonly students are kindergarten to sixth grade.
After In Reach staff gave a hearty welcome, students watched Dr. Seuss on the Loose, a short film collection of three Seuss sing-a-long stories The Sneetches, The Zax and Green Eggs and Ham. Shortly afterwards, students were separated by grade level and our guest readers took over. Each guest reader read as many of their favorite childhood stories as they had time to read. With enthusiasm and the excitement of young children themselves, it was apparent, by the brightness in the children's eyes, that the adults were fully engaging each one of them and having a great time as well.
Before dismissal everyone enjoyed a delicious treat of St. Patrick’s Day themed cake and each student was able to choose one Scholastic book and a bookmark to take home. This celebration marked the official launch of In Reach’s Catch Them by Third Power of Literacy Program pilot at Kentland Community Center for second grade students designed to inspire and help them build literacy skills, ensure that they are able to continue to develop literacy skills throughout the summer, and help families foster language and literacy skill development in their young children.
Thank you to our awesome TNi guest readers: Lavinia Baxter, Ralph Moultrie, and Alexia Clark, and In Reach’s Dream Team: Katrina Robinson, program manager; Samantha Trotter, AmeriCorps VISTA partner engagement specialist and organizer of the day’s activities; Randi Coward, afterschool program facilitator; and Toni Smith, executive director.