Community comes out to read to kids

HARLINGEN — “Skippyjon Jones created his finest piece of artwork ever,” read Stephen Sealey, a reporter for Channel 4.

The class of fifth graders was quickly captivated not only with the playful nature of the story but the colorful picture of a cat leaning into a wall surrounded by spent crayons.

“It went up and down and all over the newly-painted hall, all this rubbed his mama’s fur the wrong way,” Sealey continued to read, holding the book out for the children to see.

Sealey was one of many volunteers who read to children at Bonham Elementary yesterday as part of Read Across America.

Community members showed up at elementary schools throughout the district to read to children on what was also Dr. Seuss’s birthday. The readers at Bonham included judges, lawyers, border patrolmen, firefighters and retired teachers.

“It’s always nice to have somebody else besides teachers,” said Judi Johnston Peters, instructional coach.

“The kids ask them about their jobs and their professions,” she added. “It went really well. We are so happy so many people from the community came to read.”

Then more to the point of reading, she added, “The only way to become better at anything is to practice.”

The books read by volunteers were filled with colorful pictures which easily held the attention of the children. That’s why Marsha Gramley, a retired middle school teacher, opened the book “The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred” for all the children to see while she read.

“This is the goat that churned the cream to make the mantequilla that went into the cazuela,” she read.

The children listened closely to every word and gave her high marks.

“I liked how she practiced the Spanish,” said Alina Alvarado, 12. “She tried and it was pretty good.”

Gramley gave the kids high marks, too.

“It was awesome,” she said. “They were very attentive. They really paid attention. It was fun to read. I got to practice my Spanish.”

Back in the classroom where Sealey was reading, the children began asking him about his profession. They became increasingly animated as he revealed more about whom he’d interviewed and then about himself.

“Do you have any siblings?” one of them asked.

He has a sister age 24, he said.

“So she’s younger than you?” asked Justin Carabello, 11.

Yes.

“Yes!” Justin said, jumping into the air.

“You don’t have a chance, Justin,” said another boy.

“When you get older, she’ll get older,” added a classmate.

They all seemed to enjoy Sealy’s presentation.

“It was great,” said Justin. “I got to meet a news reporter. He let me ask questions. It was nice.”