The Connecticut Education Foundation’s (CEF) 2022 Read Across Connecticut Reading Bus Tour rolled on this week with various stops, including New London’s Harbor School on Wednesday, where students were treated not only to free books, literacy-themed craft projects, and a spirited read-aloud but also a team of MVPs who shared how books in the classroom have led to success on the basketball court.
Former NBA pro basketball player Scott Burrell, who now coaches the men’s team at Southern Connecticut State University, paid a special visit to the school to tell students how important reading has been in his academic and athletic careers. He encouraged students to read as much as possible as a way of achieving their own dreams and reminded them how important teachers are to reaching their goals.
“Reading is important because it gives you options,” he told students. “Being able to learn what you’re reading about gives you choices in life.”
Joining the UConn alum and former Chicago Bulls star were three players from SCSU’s basketball team, who helped distribute bookbags to Harbor School students, answered questions about their own personal favorites—including Magic Tree House, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream—and took a turn at the front of the class reading to students.
“It’s so wonderful to have local celebrities here to underscore the importance of reading no matter what direction your ambitions take you in life,” said CEF President and CEA Vice President Joslyn DeLancey, who has been reading to Connecticut students every day this week. “We’ve had students tell us that they want to be athletes, teachers, chefs, doctors, police officers, and engineers. Read Across America and this year’s special guests shine a light on how reading will help get them there and ensure that they excel at what they do.”
Ticket to fun!
“This event is an excellent opportunity for our students to see the importance of reading,” said Harbor School fourth-grade teacher Ruby Robledo. “Look at them—they’re so engaged!”
“This bur tour is so hands-on and provides a great reprieve from the pandemic, where we’ve had no field trips,” said fellow fourth-grade teacher Kiely Smith.
Third-grade teacher Joe Restaine agreed. “It’s so nice for our students to get out of the classroom for such a special occasion.”
Students were invited onto the customized, 38-foot blue reading bus decorated with well-known Dr. Seuss characters and outfitted with bookshelves, benches, carpeting, and hundreds of new books.
“This is incredible!” fourth-grader Jose DeAndre exclaimed. “I’d like to live on this bus!”
Third-grade teacher Ernest Covino echoed students’ enthusiasm.
“Read Across Connecticut promotes the joy and love of reading and shows the many connections between our schools and our communities,” he said.
The big blue Read Across Connecticut bus makes its final stop tomorrow, when it pulls up to Plainfield Memorial School. In addition to the bus tour aimed at elementary school children, CEF’s Read Across Connecticut includes inspirational videos for students in the middle grades, featuring celebrity athletes Scott Burrell, former WNBA star and UConn standout Morgan Tuck, and professional rock climber Nina Williams. Watch here.