News: Army Reserve soldiers share love of learning with local students
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Kindergarten and first grade students, from West Allegheny School District's Donaldson Elementary School, were visited by soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserves, 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Feb. 25. The soldiers were there on a unique mission; to provide dramatic readings from some of their favorite children’s books.
The soldiers volunteered to help celebrate the National Education Association’s, 17th annual, Read Across America Day, which promotes literacy and the development of reading at an early age. Last year, Forty-five million people nationwide participated in the largest reading celebration in the country which happens to coincide with Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2.
After reading to a kindergarten class, Maj. Thomas Fox, with the 316th ESC said, “I think that it is important to encourage children to read at an early age and reading is one of my favorite hobbies, so it was a natural fit for me.”
The 316th ESC is supporting the program with a week of activities by provide examples to encourage reading. Ty Beck, US Army Reserve Child, Youth & School Services Specialist with the 316th ESC said, “This was a good opportunity to bring the unit and a local school together.” Adding, “Read Across America is one example of many activities we have done over the last year to support our local schools through the Partnerships in Education initiative.”
“It was very nostalgic to read a Dr. Suess book and made me realize that you are never too old to enjoy a good book and bring a smile to someone's face, including my own,” said Sgt. Mary Jane Sowinski, with the 316th ESC.
Read Across America's focus is to motivate Children and Youth to read through events, partnerships, and resources. By celebrating Dr. Seuss and reading, a clear message is sent to America's Children and Youth that reading is fun and important. Growing up Lt. Col. Scottie Jackson, of the 316th ESC, recalled his early reading memories saying, “Today’s a reflection of the fun times I had as a kid reading books. I love the significance of reading and how it impacts your life.”
In total, five 316th ESC soldiers; Staff Sgt. Charles Stoddard, Sgt. Mary Jane Sowinski, Maj. Thomas Fox, Capt. Joanne Socha, and Lt. Col. Scottie Jackson read to the students.
“The students were very excited and the fact a service member was reading the book made it a unique and memorable experience for everyone, including the soldiers,” said Beck.