Katherine Skinner, right, reads the Dr. Seuss book “The Sneetches and Other Stories” to first graders in Penny Johnson’s class at Barnes Elementary School as part of Read Across America Monday.
Drew C. Wilson | Times
By Drew C. Wilson
Times Staff Writer
Readers across Wilson showed this week how much fun reading can be and how important good learning skills are to advancing later in life.
Volunteer readers visited Wilson County schools to emphasize reading in the annual Read Across America event.
In celebration of the prolific children’s author Dr. Seuss, Read Across America is sponsored the National Education Association.
“For everything that you have to do in life, you must read,” said Takwanda Lawrence, media specialist at Barnes Elementary School. “They see how important it is. They see that not only do Mommy and Daddy expect me to read, but the manager at Food Lion wants me to know how to read, or the local librarian.”
Wanda Bullock, reading instruction teaching support teacher at Barnes Elementary, said that reading opens doors for so many opportunities for children.
“We know that if we can build that foundation and that motivation for reading, that that opens doors for whatever hopes and dreams they have in the future,” Bullock said. “Our goal and our desire for this project is to help them to be motivated and to realize the importance of it with seeing so many awesome members of the community here with us.”
About 25 volunteers were invited to read in classrooms from kindergarten to fifth grade over two days during the week.
“For some of them, just seeing grownups read with enthusiasm and their love for reading, sharing it with the children, we really expect that to make a big difference with their motivation and their love for reading,” Bullock said.
Wilson County Board of Education member Debora Powell was one of the readers invited to the event.
Powell said it is important to begin children on a steady diet of reading early on, even in preschool.
“I am an advocate for the preschool programs too,” Powell said. “The earlier that we can start with the reading, the less problems and difficulty that they will have in their reading.”
These days, it is important to establish good reading skills because that ability is carried over in all facets of education and life.
“Reading expands to all subject areas, science, social studies, health, physical education because now we collaborate,” Powell said. “Teachers work together, which is definitely something that is great for the kids.”
According to Powell, it is important for students to see these volunteers coming out to show how important reading is to them and to everyone.
“I know that as I was growing up in Wilson County, role models were very important to me,” Powell said. “I grew up in a neighborhood where we had teachers and retired teachers, and they were my role models.”
If a person can’t read, they probably won’t be able to get a job.
“This is very important because one day they are going to pursue jobs and fill out applications,” Powell said. “If they can’t read and fill out and complete the application, they are not going to be hired.”