Norwalk school children listen to guest book readers

Ponus Ridge Middle School Principal Damon Lewis reads to 21 Fox Run Elementary School students Friday in Cait Fernandez’s classroom. Fernandez is in her first year teaching. (Harold Cobin)

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Public Schools marked the national Read Across America Day on Friday – at every school, for the first time.

Hundreds of guest readers fanned out across the district, according to NPS Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams. They included Mayor Harry Rilling, members of the Norwalk Police and Fire Departments, Common Council members, State Legislators, NPS Board of Education members, family and community members, school and district leaders, and high school students, all sharing their love of reading with students, she said.

Video by Harold Cobin at end of story

“Anytime that any administrator, any adult, can walk into an elementary school or any school and promote literacy and reading, and reading across grade levels and reading comprehension, and all the things that we do in this district to help kids read and write… I think it’s a wonderful experience,” Ponus Ridge Middle School Principal Damon Lewis said, after reading to 21 Fox Run Elementary School students.

Fox Run Elementary School students listen Friday to Ponus Ridge Middle School Principal Damon Lewis reads them a book. (Harold Cobin)

Readers were given the option of bringing two books they wanted to read, or leave it up to the school to provide the books, Wilcox Williams said.

“An event sponsored by the National Education Association, Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program celebrated throughout the country. The program calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading,” the NPS press release said.

“Children who are inspired and spend more time reading do a better job in school according to research,” K-12 English Language Arts Instructional Specialist Janine Goss is quoted as saying. “Motivating students to read is a critical factor in creating a lifelong ability and passion for reading well beyond school.”

“In addition to Friday’s events, several NPS schools kicked off the celebration earlier in the month,” the press release said. “Rowayton and Brookside elementary schools participated in the “One Book, One School” program, which motivated students to create projects and participate in activities as a school community. At Nathan Hale Middle School, English Language Arts students were provided with the opportunity to register for a Norwalk Public Library card.”



MarjorieM March 2, 2019 at 9:47 am

Totally incorrect! This was done before in every school. I believe there are pictures in The Hour to prove it.

Lisa Brinton March 2, 2019 at 3:30 pm

Agree with Marjorie, I think this is the third year. I ‘know’ I did it last year, can’t remember the year before 🤔 and had a great time reading yesterday.

MarjorieM March 2, 2019 at 7:42 pm

“Celebrities” reading to students in the classroom was also done approximately 13-15 years ago!

MarjorieM March 3, 2019 at 10:25 am

Reading is Fundamental (RIF), a Grant from Washington, D.C., that distributed free books to students, was the first of the read-alouds done by city dignitaries, I believe. There were also storybook parades and many other activities to promote reading. This new administration seems to think everything they do is “a first” for Norwalk. There is no one left who knows past history of Norwalk Public Schools. I guess I have to break their bubble of firsts, but the old Norwalk was pretty creative, hard-working and even recognized by the SDE as being on the forefront of educational change.

Brenda Wilcox Williams March 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Individual schools have absolutely invited readers and recognized the day in the past. What we said is that this was the first time that Read Across America day was coordinated districtwide. There was support from our ELA specialist, so that the observance could be expanded and all elementary schools (and some secondary classes) would participate. It was a positive, very successful celebration of reading, and we thank all our guest readers.

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