Connecticut Education Foundation brings the joy of reading and free books to students; local sports celebrities join in the celebration
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the year’s biggest literacy celebration rolled into New London this morning to kick off the Connecticut Education Foundation’s annual Read Across Connecticut Reading Bus Tour.
The Reading Bus Tour began five fun-filled days of reading activities to help hundreds of third- and fourth-grade students develop good literacy skills and a love of reading. The bus will visit four schools in New London over the next four days before driving on to Plainfield, where the weeklong celebration will come to a close.
The Connecticut Education Foundation (CEF), the nonprofit arm of the Connecticut Education Association, sponsors the literacy extravaganza with partners iHeartRadio and the National Education Association. The event delivers miles of excitement, guest readers, costumed characters, crafts, and literacy activities. More than 1,000 third- and fourth-grade students in New London and Plainfield are given free bookbags filled with school supplies and the opportunity to select a new, free book of their choice.
“Reading is so fundamentally important, and our Read Across Connecticut project encourages children to pick up a book and learn how reading is fun,” said CEF President and CEA Vice President Joslyn DeLancey. “As a fifth-grade teacher, there was no greater or more magical time in my class than while reading. Read-alouds inspire dynamic and important conversations and cultivate a community of caring, reflective young students. Independent reading time allows students to build a love of reading and recognize that books can take you anywhere.”
Local Sports Stars Celebrate Reading
“This year, in an effort to reach more middle school students, we have created a special online video component of Read Across Connecticut Week featuring well-known Connecticut sports stars sharing the importance of reading with young students across the state,” said DeLancey.
The online campaign, which includes resources teachers can use in their reading lessons, features
- Scott Burrell, former NBA star, UConn standout, and current coach of the Southern Connecticut State University men’s basketball team
- Morgan Tuck, former WNBA star, UConn standout, and current Director of Franchise Development for the Connecticut Sun
- Nina Williams, a Connecticut native and professional rock climber
The online campaign can be found at cea.org/read-across-connecticut/
The bus tour is rolling into New London for four days before moving to Plainfield to wrap up the weeklong Read Across America celebration, a yearly initiative from the National Education Association, designed to motivate children to read and bring the joy of reading to students of all ages. The event is held the week of March 2 to celebrate the birthday of beloved children’s author Theodor Geisel, commonly known as Dr. Seuss. The reading initiative has been so well received that it has expanded from a one-day celebration into a weeklong reading event with more than 45 million students, parents, and teachers participating in reading parties, community read-ins, activities, character parades, book fairs, and more.
“Reading is one of the most important factors in student achievement, and creating successful lifelong readers is critical for future success,” says DeLancey.
“Research shows that children who spend more time reading do better in school, and for that reason and so many others there is no more important gift than literacy. CEF is proud to work with our passionate, caring, and dedicated teachers across the state to promote the importance of reading. This year we are excited to once again have the support of community sponsor iHeartRadio.”
“We are dedicated to supporting public school teachers, and we understand the importance of literacy and the need to instill a love of reading in our students and get books into their hands,” said Renee DiNino, on-air personality at The River 105.9 and director of community affairs for iHeartMedia Connecticut.
The CEF Reading Bus Tour Schedule
Day 1: Monday, February 28 at 9:15 a.m., the CEF Reading Bus Tour rolls into the Winthrop STEM Elementary School in New London. Special guest readers will read The Girl with a Mind for Math, the Story of Raye Montague, written by Julia Finley Mosca and Daniel Rieley.
Winthrop STEM Elementary School
75 Grove Street
9:15 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.*
Day 2: Tuesday, March 1, the CEF Reading Bus Tour rolls into the Jennings International Elementary School to give the gift of reading to hundreds of students. Special guest readers will read How I Learned Geography, written by Uri Shulevitz.
Jennings International Elementary School
50 Mercer Street
9:45 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.*
Day 3: Wednesday, March 2, the CEF Reading Bus Tour stops at the Harbor Elementary School. Special guest readers will read The Girl with a Mind for Math, the Story of Raye Montague, written by Julia Finley Mosca and Daniel Rieley.
Harbor Elementary School
432 Montauk Avenue
10 a.m. – noon
Day 4: Thursday, March 3, students at Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School will welcome the CEF Reading Bus Tour. Beginning at 9:15 a.m., students will hear stories focusing on the arts and participate in a variety of hands-on activities. Special guest readers will read Never Play Music Next to the Zoo, written by John Lithgow.
Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School
37 Beech Drive
9:15 a.m. – 2:40 p.m.*
Day 5: Friday, March 4, the CEF Reading Bus Tour will make its final stop in Plainfield at 8:30 a.m. Students at Plainfield Memorial School will celebrate Read Across America week with special events, crafts, and a reading of the story Never Play Music Next to the Zoo, written by John Lithgow.
Plainfield Memorial School
95 Canterbury Road
8:30 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.*
CEF is working with radio partner iHeartMedia to promote the Reading Bus Tour highlighting the importance of reading, and the Plainfield Public School System, which owns the bus and generously provided it for the weeklong event.
*Due to the shortage of bus drivers, the Read Across Connecticut Reading Bus will depart at 12:30pm.
Please note: In case of school delays or cancellations due to weather, the CEF Reading Bus will visit the school on the same day the following week.
The Connecticut Education Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable foundation established in 1991 to help children and teachers with extraordinary personal hardships and students planning teaching careers. Visit cea.org/cef.
About iHeartMedia Hartford
iHeartMedia Hartford owns and operates WKSS-FM, WHCN-FM, WWYZ-FM, WUCS-FM, WPOP-AM, and is part of iHeartMedia. iHeartMedia is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month – and with its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. The company’s leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms including 850 live broadcast stations; streaming music, radio and on demand via its iHeartRadio digital service available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices including smart speakers, digital auto dashes, tablets, wearables, smartphones, virtual assistants, TVs and gaming consoles; through its influencers; social; branded iconic live music events; and podcasts as the #1 commercial podcast publisher globally. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics and attribution technology for its marketing partners, using data from its massive consumer base. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (PINK: IHRTQ). Visit iHeartMedia.com.
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.