Connecticut Education Foundation uses sports theme to bring the joy of reading and free books to hundreds of first and second grade students in Hamden
The Connecticut Education Foundation, along with the Connecticut Sun and iHeart Radio, are kicking off a weeklong celebration of reading this morning in all nine Hamden elementary schools.
More than 1,000 first- and second-graders are participating in the weeklong program with the opportunity to select a new, free, sports-themed book of their choice to take home, along with bookmarks, reading certificates, word searches, and a flyer for parents with tips on engaging children in reading at home.
“Reading is one of the most important building blocks of a child’s education, giving them the foundation needed to be successful in school,” says CEF President Joslyn DeLancey. “Bringing fun and play into reading and putting a brand-new book in a student’s hand encourages them to pick up books and develop reading habits that will help them throughout their life.”
This year’s Read Across America event brings together the excitement of professional sports and the energy of television, radio, and sports personalities to highlight the fun of reading. On Thursday, March 2, the Connecticut Sun women’s professional basketball team will host a basketball clinic at Ridge Hill Elementary School. Throughout the week, guest readers at various Hamden elementary schools will read aloud from the award-winning children’s book Jabari Jumps, by Gaia Cornwall.
Guest readers include:
- Morgan Tuck, former WNBA star, UConn standout, and assistant general manager and director of franchise development for the Connecticut Sun
- Renee DiNino, on-air personality at The River 105.9 and director of community affairs for iHeartMedia Connecticut
- Laura Hutchinson, WTNH Good Morning Connecticut co-anchor
- Erik Dobratz, WTNH sports reporter
Activities and guest readers are scheduled at all nine Hamden elementary schools, with special events taking place on the following days at these schools. In the event of a weather-related school cancellation, that day’s events will be rescheduled by Hamden Public Schools for a later date.
Monday, February 27: 9:15am – 2:30pm, West Woods Elementary, 350 West Todd Street, Hamden. Guest readers Laura Hutchinson (9:15 to 10:30am)
(Cancelled) Tuesday, February 28: 9 – 11:50am, Shepherd Glen School, 1 Skiff Street Extension, Hamden. Guest reader Erik Dobratz (9am)
Wednesday, March 1: 12:05 – 2:15pm, Dunbar Hill School, 315 Lane Street, Hamden. Guest reader Renee DiNino
Thursday, March 2: 9-11am, Connecticut Sun Basketball clinic day at Ridge Hill Elementary, 120 Carew Road, Hamden
Friday, March 3: 9:15-9:45 am and 12:55-2:40 pm, Church Street School, 94 Church Street, Hamden.
“These events not only put new books into the hands of children but also open new worlds and experiences to students,” says DeLancey.
“We appreciate CEF for recognizing the great need in Hamden schools and working with our dedicated educators to present this special sports-themed celebration of diversity and reading,” says Hamden Education Association President David Abate, a high school earth science teacher.
“The Hamden Public School System is excited and humbled to partner with CEF in celebrating Read Across America Week,” says Hamden Public School Superintendent Gary Highsmith. “Such a well-coordinated and substantive celebration of reading supports our efforts to ensure that each and every one of our students develops a lifelong love and passion for reading, because we know how important reading is in a person’s life. As one of Connecticut’s most culturally diverse districts, we are very proud to serve as the sole partner district with CEF in this wonderful undertaking. I speak on behalf of our students, parents, and staff when I say the excitement is palpable, and we are more than appreciative to be chosen to serve as a partner.”
Every student will receive a free book to take home. Books include diverse characters that students can see themselves reflected in, as well as real-life sports celebrities that many children recognize. Titles include:
- Arthur and the Best Coach, by Marc Brown
- Cartwheel Katie Woo, by Fran Manushkin
- Good Sports, by Jack Prelutsky and Chris Raschka
- Goodnight Hockey, by Michael Dahl
- Mo Jackson (series), by David Adler
- You Can Do It, Yasmin, by Saadia Faruqi
- Winner Never Quit, by Mia Hamm
- Pedro’s Big Goal, by Fran Manushkin
- Salt in His Shoes, by Deloris Jordan, Roslyn Jordan, and Kadir Nelson
Read Across America is a yearly initiative of the National Education Association designed to 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.
“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,” says Renee DiNino, on-air personality at The River 105.9 and director of community affairs for iHeartMedia Connecticut.
“For many years, CEF, the nonprofit arm of the Connecticut Education Association, has been working together with our passionate and dedicated educators across the state to promote literacy,” DeLancey adds. “This year, we are fortunate to have a new community partner, the Connecticut Sun, join our returning sponsors, iHeart Radio and the National Education Association, in bringing this program to Hamden students.”
All materials are also available online for educators across the state at cea.org/read-across-connecticut.