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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Marines celebrate Read Across America Day

By Pamela Jackson | | March 10, 2011

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Marines are known for their dedication to duty, mental toughness and physical strength. They are warriors, fierce in battle and America’s 9-1-1 force, but this week they demonstrated their softer side with hundreds of local elementary school students March 3 - 4.

Several Marines from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Marine Corps Logistics Command and Marine Corps Systems Command here participated in the annual Read Across America activities at local elementary schools in Albany, Ga., by sharing their love of reading with children.

The purpose of RAA is to motivate children to read because it is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. Schools officials said it was a great opportunity for local students in Albany to see the importance of reading and that people from all walks of life are doing it, including Marines.

Maj. Latresa Steward, current operations officer, Logistics Operations Center, Logistics Command, was one of several Marines who read to students at Lincoln Elementary Magnet School and said the event was very well organized.

“I read to a kindergarten class and it was a great experience because the children were excited. Not only did they clap for me when I was finished, but they sang to me as well,” she said. “The teachers and children were very welcoming and the staff was very kind. They (staff) thanked us for participating. It was very well organized.”

Deborah Jones, principal, Sylvester Road Elementary School, said having the Marines at her school again this year was wonderful. Her students have sent cards and other goodies to military personnel who are deployed.

“Seeing the men and women in uniform gave the students an opportunity to put faces with the uniforms they see on television and in books,” she said. “The students, especially the boys, were excited to see the Marines in uniform and listen to them read and share their personal stories. They were fantastic, student-friendly and motivational. The experience made a great impression upon our students.”

According to the Web site, http://www.nea.org, National Education Association’s RAA is an annual reading, motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

Raamiah Kirby, a second grader in Mrs. Small’s class where Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, read, said, “I think it was great to have him come from the Marine base to read to us. I liked him.”

Jones said she welcomes the Marines back to her school any time, not just for a special occasion like Read Across America Day. She is also looking at other projects her school can partner with MCLB Albany in the future.

“I love this event! No matter what school I go to here in the area, the kids really seem to enjoy it,” said Williams. “I try to make it interactive, and reading a Dr. Seuss book with the rhymes and the fun characters really makes it a blast. I love it!”

One teacher who hosted readers said the volunteers brought excitement to the students.

“It was a privilege to have the commanding officer of the base and other Marines participate in our annual celebration,” said Sandy John, 2nd grade teacher, Lincoln Elementary School. “We thank them for the investment they made in sharing their love for reading books by Dr. Seuss.”


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