SMDC leads to help kids read
Sgt. 1st Class James Sneed, operations noncommissioned officer at U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, reads the Dr. Seuss book "You're Only Old Once" to students at Morris Elementary School in Huntsville, Ala., during the national Read Across America campaign March 1.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Soldiers and civilians of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command spent a day reading Dr. Seuss books to local kindergarten through fifth grade students for the "Read Across America" program to help show the importance of reading.

As part of the Team Redstone Community Engagement Council education outreach program, different commands and organizations across Redstone Arsenal went to local schools and read to the children for "Read Across America" March 1.

The council reached out to Huntsville City Schools ahead of time to find out who would be interested in having readers come, then the council asked different organizations and commands to "adopt" or sponsor these schools.

"I truly appreciate members of SMDC's patience and willingness to serve our community. The faculty and students are very happy and anxious to have guest readers," said Davita White, Morris Elementary School reading coach. "Today is very important because we are coming together as a nation. Every school throughout the United States is participating in what is called 'Read Across America' and what this program is is an annual day in which we engross the children into reading books all day, either independently or having guest readers come into the classrooms.

"The purpose of this is to help students learn how to become fluent readers, and we want our students to read with passion and vigor," White continued. "It is such a wonderful privilege to have the readers from SMDC come out to join us today and participate in this program.

"The students benefit from the readers because they get a chance to experience being around people in the military," White said. "This is very motivational for our students and is inspirational for them to see Soldiers from the community who care enough about them to spend time reading to them.

"I am so grateful and appreciative for all those who participated today," she added.

White said partnership between Redstone and local school districts helps provide an opportunity for leaders to become actively engaged in the classroom enhancing academic achievement.

One lesson the "Read Across America" program hopes to instill is that if students are good readers, they will be better in other subjects, such as math, science and social studies.

"I have really enjoyed today," said third-grade student Jeremiah Borter. "The 'Cat in the Hat' is really funny. It was great to have the Soldiers here today, and I hope they can come back soon. Today was great and I had a lot of fun."

Another student pointed out the more she practices reading, the better reader she will become.

"Today has been fun," said third-grade student Valencia Powell. "I am learning about Dr. Seuss, and the books are fun. This is great. I have never been able to see a real Soldier before. They were great readers, and they made me want to read more."

Readers from SMDC got an opportunity to share with the children information about their personal experience with reading and impress upon the children that reading helps them to learn about important places, people, things, as well as how to express themselves.

"I think today is a great event," said SMDC G-3 Sgt. Maj. Rod Beach. "I think this gives the military an opportunity to be more involved in the community and get involved with an important issue like reading to children. This helps build a baseline and a habit of reading that will follow them as they grow older.

"I read 'Horton Hears a Who' and the children enjoyed it so much they wanted me to read a second book to them," he added. "I had to leave because the teacher was taking them to lunch, but hopefully, one day I can make it back here and read that second book to them."

Page last updated Wed March 6th, 2013 at 18:04