Airmen join local schools in ‘Read Across America’ programs
By Alicia Garges , SMC Public Affairs
/ Published March 14, 2006
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Nearly 30 Airmen from Los Angeles Air Force Base and supported units read to students at Carr Elementary School in Torrance, Calif., and Center Street School in El Segundo, Calif., as part of the schools’ “Read Across America” events March 2.
“It was great,” said 1st Lt. Rebecca Drydol-Brandon, SBIRS Program Office. “The kids loved it.”
She read stories to a kindergarten and second grade class at Carr Elementary followed by questions about her job, why she joined the Air Force and if she flew planes.
Her husband, 1st Lt. Herman Brandon, SBIRS Program Office, also read to students, and he said it was a very enjoyable experience.
“I tried to bring the book to life,” he said. He said he also got a kick out of the questions the children asked. One student asked him how old he was. His response was, “old.”
Capt. Mary Danner, Air Force Public Affairs Entertainment Liaison Office in Westwood, Calif., read “Duck on a Bike” to a kindergarten class. After finishing the story the students asked about her job, hobbies and where she lives. The children told her about the class guinea pig.
“The kids are great. They’re so appreciative and sweet,” Captain Danner said.
“We’re thrilled to have people from the base,” said Ms. Ann Kiely, one of the event coordinators at Carr Elementary. Volunteers from the base have participated for the past seven years.
The first year the “Read Across America” program started, one Airman read to the students. That Airman enjoyed the program, so he got more people to join the program the following year, she said. From there the event took off, with the SMC Public Affairs Office coordinating volunteer support.
Besides the Airmen, participants in the program included the Torrance Police Department, the Torrance and El Segundo fire departments, the FBI, Coast Guard, California Highway Patrol, Secret Service, Torrance School Board members and Los Angeles Lakers basketball players.
At Center Street School, reading stories to children was only part of the activities going on at the school. The fifth graders wrote a play based on Dr. Seuss’ stories and performed it throughout the day.
The purpose of the day’s events is to make reading fun, said Ms. Michelle Green, Center Street School librarian. Next year the school plans to add a reading challenge to the “Read Across America” events.
“Read Across America” is held at schools across the country to promote children’s literacy. March 2 was Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and most of the day’s events focused around his stories.