The Connecticut Education Foundation (CEF) kicked off the 2022 Read Across Connecticut Reading Bus Tour at Winthrop STEM Elementary Magnet School in New London today with read alouds, fun activities, and free books for students.
CEF President and CEA Vice President Joslyn DeLancey read to students and got them thinking about what their dreams are and how reading can help them get there.
“Reading is important every day. We know that children who are exposed to books and literature are much more successful later on in life,” DeLancey said. She told students, “You can be a reader at any point in your life, you just have to find where your interests lie. Books can take you places, and the more you read, the stronger a reader you become.”
Today was the first of five fun-filled days of reading activities at schools in Eastern Connecticut to help hundreds of third- and fourth-grade students develop strong literacy skills and a love of reading. The bus is visiting four New London schools before driving on to Plainfield, where the weeklong celebration will come to a close. More than 1,000 students in the two towns are being given free bookbags filled with school supplies and the opportunity to select a new, free book of their choice.
At each school a read aloud has been selected to reflect the focus of the school. Today’s was The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague, a book about an African American woman who became an engineer at a time when few women or people of color were allowed into the field. Montague designed boats and submarines, becoming the first female program manager of ships in the United States Navy—a relatable topic for Winthrop students, whose classrooms overlook the Thames River as well as Electric Boat and the Naval Submarine Base on the opposite shore.
“Our kids, all kids, need to have adults read to them,” says New London Education Association President Richard Baez. “They need to hear fluency, they need to hear what good reading sounds like, they need to ask questions.”
“We really want to celebrate reading and ensure that kids are exposed to books that inspire them and that they can connect to,” DeLancey says.
CEF is the nonprofit arm of CEA, and is sponsoring the weeklong literacy extravaganza with partners iHeartRadio and the National Education Association.