NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Jefferson Elementary School celebrated its 15th annual New York State Great Read Aloud Friday by inviting prominent community members, business leaders, elected officials and sports and entertainment figures to read stories to the school's 600 students.
Guest readers included New Rochelle Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne, state Senator George Latimer, District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, New Rochelle Public Library Director Tom Geoffino and New Rochelle Police Detective Terrence Fudge, among others.
"When I come here to Jefferson, it reminds me of when I was your age, because I loved reading," said Senator Latimer, who grew up in nearby Mount Vernon. "I realized how important reading was to everything else. You have to be able to read and understand to do math, to do science, to do all the different subjects that you have. Later in life, you must have the ability to read and understand to function as a grown man or woman. And it all began in elementary school, and that's the feeling I have when I come back here."
Participation in Jefferson's Great Read Aloud brings attention to the value of reading to, and with, children. The readers contribute to the school's goals of promoting family reading and improving skills in active listening and accountable talk.
Students learned about their reader in advance so they could ask informed questions about the adult's life and career. The readers serve as important models for students to look up to and emulate.
"The classroom discussions between these leaders and our children create memories of an intimate encounter with a successful adult that can have a powerful and lasting effect," said Jefferson Principal Kimmerly Nieves. "How many children can actually say they have met and connected with someone famous or influential? It lets them think that yes, they could become a person like that."