Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324
BURLINGAME – Across the state today, in classrooms, community centers and campus libraries, California Teachers Association officers joined teachers, parents and many others to help inspire kids about the power and joy of reading as part of the star-studded national “Read Across America” celebration of literacy in public schools.
The day lived up to the California theme of the 10th annual event that CTA and the National Education Association team up to promote: “Get Jazzed About Books.” Students responded with smiles, enthusiasm and some awe when it came to meeting celebrities and politicians.
CTA President Barbara E. Kerr joined California’s honorary co-chair for the event, actress Raven- Symone, star of the hit children’s TV show “That’s So Raven,” at a celebrity event in Compton. Vice President David A. Sanchez read in San Diego with noted book artist and event state co-chair Rafael Lopez, while Secretary-Treasurer Dean E. Vogel read at a Bay Area school with Lt. Gov. John Garamendi.
“Today is Read Across America Day and kids are reading all across the country, and California, and Compton,” Kerr said at her reading event with 1,000 Compton Unified School District students. “It’s a good day to remind people that reading makes you smarter.”
Raven, the successful Disney TV star, agreed, saying she took part today to remind kids that reading well makes a difference in your life. “I’m an actress and I was reading scripts when I was three with my parents,” she said. “So many people don’t take it seriously and they regret it later in life. Hopefully what I am doing with my life will push more people towards reading.”
In San Diego, CTA Vice President Sanchez celebrated at Penn Elementary School with artist Rafael Lopez, who did the vibrant multicultural artwork featured in California’s campaign this year, from the children’s book, “My Name is Celia – Me Llamo Celia” by Monica Brown. His work has also been featured on U.S. postage stamps. He spoke to 60 delighted third-graders.
“I see a picture in my head, not of what a thing looks like, but how I feel about a thing,” Lopez said, “and then I draw it. You can do that too.”
In the Bay Area, 60 wide-eyed second-graders were treated to several spirited readings by CTA Secretary-Treasurer Vogel and Lt. Gov. Garamendi in the library at Franklin Elementary in Burlingame.
Vogel read from one of his favorite children’s books, “Miss Nelson Is Missing,” about how cantankerous students eventually come to appreciate their teacher.
Garamendi, who has six children and nine grandchildren, brought a bag of his favorite books from his house – including “Where The Wild Things Are,” “Humphrey The Lost Whale” and the text version of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” documentary. He told the students: “When we read, we learn. And when we learn, we can start thinking about what the problems are.”
Other events around the state also showed how teachers and students are working together to celebrate reading.
In Encino, for example, actor/producer Robert Guillaume and NFL star Keyshawn Johnson visited Encino Elementary School in recognition of students having surpassed their goal of reading 5,000 books for a total of 9,000.
In Bakersfield, preschool teachers who are members of the Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association read to youngsters from a variety of books, then did activities such as making “Cat In The Hat” hats.
At their respective events today, CTA officers also donated hundreds of new books to the schools. The books were donated by partners in the day’s events, including Barnes and Noble bookstore, Scholastic and the First Book organization.
As a resource for parents and teachers, the CTA website will continue to post a Read Across America list of outstanding multicultural books that every child should know.