Prominent members of the community shared their love of books with students in all classrooms at Dows Lane Elementary School and Main Street School during World Read Aloud Day on Feb. 1. With a book in hand, each guest reader greeted the students, explained his or her role in the community, answered questions from the students and read a story from a beloved book.
Among the readers were Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kristopher Harrison, who read “Ish” by Peter H. Reynolds; Board of Education President Michael Hanna, who read “Twenty-One Elephants” by Phil Bildner; and former Irvington High School Principal Scott Mosenthal, who read “The Great Gracie Chase: Stop That Dog!” by Cynthia Rylant. Westchester County Executive George Latimer read “Each Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson; Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky read “Next Stop Grand Central” by Maira Kalman; and ballet dancer Kate Lydon read “Firebird” by fellow ballet dancer Misty Copeland. Irvington Police Chief Michael Cerone, actress Sarah Wynter and Westchester County Assistant District Attorney Susan Brownbill-Vega, among others, also read books to the students.
Emma O’Donnell, a fifth-grader at Main Street School who loves to read nonfiction stories, said she enjoyed listening to Police Chief Cerone read a book about taking chances.
“It was really awesome for him to read a book to my class,” she said. “I thought [the book he read to us] was a good book because it was all about taking chances, and he’s taken so many chances in his life to become a police officer.”
Main Street School Principal Joyce Chapnick said the students joined millions of readers around the world to raise awareness about the importance of access to literacy as a human right that belongs to everyone. The event also celebrated the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories. Dows Lane Elementary School Principal Deb Mariniello said there was a guest reader in every kindergarten through fifth-grade classroom during the day.
“Studies show that literacy is the foundation for emotional and physical well-being, intellectual growth and economic security,” Mariniello said. “Furthermore, reading aloud improves listening skills, vocabulary acquisition and the understanding of common story themes and structures that will factor into children’s future success.”
The event was sponsored by the PTSA Legislative Strategic Advisory Committee, while the worldwide event was spearheaded by the international literacy nonprofit LitWorld International Inc.