The students of Brown Avenue School were treated with visits by several local celebrities last Thursday as they celebrated World Read Aloud Day.
“As a reading specialist at Brown Ave., I wanted to host a World Read Aloud Day on February 1 by reaching out to our Johnston community and inviting them to share their favorite childhood books with students,” said Karen DiSandro. “Experts say that a family that reads together succeeds together.”
According to DiSandro, World Read Aloud Day celebrates the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories. Nearly 750 million people worldwide lack basic reading and writing skills.
“Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, states that we read aloud to children for the same reason we talk with them: to reassure, entertain, bond, inform, spark curiosity and to inspire.
Reading aloud to children every day puts them almost a year ahead of those who do not receive reading time. According to literacy statistics, among the youth population, female literacy rates have been rising quickly. However, three out of five youths lacking basic reading and writing skills are young women.
“If we were able to come together as a community and spend some time talking and reading to children, then parents can learn from this and set reading as a priority each and every day,” said DiSandro. “Just 15 minutes a day of reading to a child can make a world of difference.”
Johnston Police Department’s own Deputy Chief Joseph Razza and Officer Brooke Ardito were the first readers of the day. Both officers chose law enforcement themed books; Razza read Officer Buckle and Gloria to the first grade class, while Ardito read Keeping You Safe.
Mayor Joseph Polisena, who told students he was expecting a call from the governor as he read to them and said he would put her on speaker to say hello if she called, read What If You Had Animal Teeth to the children.
“Experts say that a family that reads together succeeds together,” said DiSandro. “Reading should be set as a top priority.”
Helina Dlugon, principal at Brown, read her favorite children’s book, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs to Mrs. Tobin’s grade 2 class. Also attending the day’s event was school committee member Gena Bianco-Robbins, who read her favorite book, The Kissing Hand, to Mrs. Lupo and Mrs. Pontarelli’s 4th grade class. Superintendent Bernard DiLullo, a strong reading advocate, also paid a visit to read The Day the Crayons Came Home.
Firefighters Ray Cianci and Justin Petrin also contributed to the day’s fun activities. Cianci read a book about Groundhog Day to first grade students in Mrs. Salois and Mrs. Ross’ class, while Petrin sat with first graders and answered questions about being a firefighter.
Even parents of students filled the day’s activities with reading and visited multiple classrooms to read to the eager students.
“Having positive role models, such as our superintendent, mayor, police officers, firefighters, school committee member and parents reading aloud to our students definitely sparks enthusiasm for our students to become lifetime learners,” said DiSandro.