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Many from across Redstone Arsenal participated in a virtual version of Read Across America this month.

The National Education Association started Read Across America in 1998. Even though it’s a year-round event, emphasis is usually placed on the program in March, which is National Reading Month. The goal, of course, according to the NEA, is to motivate children and teens to read.

“It was great having so much support from all of our tenant organizations here at Redstone,” Erica Lewis, school liaison officer at Redstone, said. “We even had a few volunteer readers to dress up and get into character for their readings. It was great to have so much cooperation for such a great cause.”

Normally, volunteers would visit local schools to read to children, but this year participants read children’s books on camera. Those videos were then distributed via YouTube and the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service to teachers throughout the community.

“I think the pandemic has taught us that we have to be flexible and adapt to situations beyond our control,” Lewis said. “Although our volunteer readers were not able to go to the schools as they have done in years past, I felt it was still important to continue having our volunteers read but to do it in a safe, fun way.

“COVID-19 has slowed down a lot of aspects of our daily lives but it has also allowed us to awaken our creativity. In doing Read Across America, we wanted to show our support for our local schools and let students know that reading can be fun.”

Garrison Commander Col. Glenn Mellor and Command Sgt. Maj. Juan Jimenez also participated in a special reading event at the Mills Road Child Development Center, which included a visit from The Cat in the Hat.

You can find a playlist on YouTube at and a DVIDS playlist at

The NEA has a number of resources available on their website at

“I’d like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s Read Across America event,” Lewis said. “Each and every one of you made the event a success!”