By Ed Harris
Plantsville Elementary School hosted several guest readers recently as it celebrated Read Across America Day.
This was the first year that the school invited “celebrity” guest readers, including various media personalities and businessmen from the area.
“We decided to branch out a little bit,” said Hilary Birdsey, one of the co-organizers of the event.
Some of the guest readers read books by Dr. Seuss, which are commonly associated with Read Across America Day, though they were free to read any book to the students.
Mike Soltys, the vice president of communications at ESPN, was one of the celebrity guest readers. Soltys, who was reading to a second grade class, said this was his first time participating in the program, though another ESPN personality had participated in prior years.
“It’s a great way to bring visibility to reading,” Soltys said. “It’s a great opportunity for the volunteers.”
Morgan Birdsey, Hilary’s daughter, was also a guest reader. The eight-year-old Morgan, a third grader from Hatton School, was excited to come in and read to a first grade class at Plantsville.
“I love to read,” Morgan said, adding that she had used to read to her whole class last year at Hatton. “It’s one of my favorite subjects.”
Many of the guest readers, including news anchors from many of the local cable news channels, held a question and answer session with the students and a few discussed the various aspects of their profession and how it correlated to television screens.
Plantsville School Principal Patricia Corvello said the whole day was to be centered on reading, including a read-a-thon later in the afternoon.
“They’re so excited,” Corvello said of the students, who had anticipated the day for a while.