Local school invites APG employees to Read Across America Day

March 27, 2014

By Joyce M. Conant, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

  • The first Read Across America Day was held on March 2, 1998
  • Read Across America Day gives students the opportunity to realize the importance of reading
  • School staff was pleased by the amount of support they received from APG

Employees from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory supported Churchville Elementary School's Read Across America Day by reading stories to children in kindergarten through third grade on Feb. 28.

In 1997, an organization known as the National Education Association, pushed for a special day to celebrate reading throughout the United States. This idea proved to be a popular one so it was not long before the first Read Across America Day was held on March 2, 1998.

Churchville Elementary School's principal said they have participated in Read Across America Day for several years and its purpose is to motivate children and teens to read. They are thrilled to open this up to members of the local community.

"The Churchville school community – students, staff and parents love having employees from Aberdeen Proving Ground as readers. Civil leaders, retired educators and community members also participate," said Edith Buckler, principal, Churchville Elementary School. "It gives students the opportunity to see that all members of our society realize the importance of reading. We have a number of parents who work on APG and this gives them a special opportunity to be an active participant during the school day."

Volunteers were told that they could bring a favorite book to read or one would be provided.

One of those volunteers was Ashley Bomboy from ARL's Survivability/Lethality Analysis Directorate. She read Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss to a first grade class.

"My daughter is a first grader at Churchville Elementary and I was able to read to her class," said Bomboy. "The children were super enthusiastic and had lots to ask and tell me about the book as we read. It was fun to see how excited they were about reading and the visitors they had in class. A parent even contacted me and told me that her child said that having the readers come to school was the best part of the day."

Stacey Hull, who is a supply technician in ARL's laboratory operations, also enjoyed the interaction.

"It was a great experience having read to a class of kindergarteners for Read Across America Day," said Hull. "They enacted a lot with the story–and, the class gave me a thank you note for reading to them! I am just a people oriented person."

Two ARL employees who read last year joined the celebration again this year.

Matthew Floros from the Vehicle Technology Directorate read Gertrude McFuzz by Dr. Seuss to Mrs. Brosh's kindergarten class. Floros wanted to read because his daughter Alanna is in Brosh's class.

"I have participated in Read Across America Day since we moved to Maryland in 2009. My youngest child just started kindergarten this year and I wanted to continue the tradition of reading to her class as I did for my older children's classes," said Floros. "I really love how Dr. Seuss can present important and sometimes difficult lessons to children in a way that is easy for them to understand. Gertrude McFuzz talks about jealousy as one bird is jealous of another bird's tail. Her efforts to grow a bigger tail than her friend backfire and she realizes that there was nothing wrong with her the way she was when she started."

Angelique Scharine from the Human Research and Engineering Directorate was happy to volunteer as a reader again this year.

"I volunteered to read at Churchville because initially, I was going to be out of town during the Read Across America Day for my kids' school," said Scharine. "I always enjoy reading – and, I'm amused when the kids will just request book after book. I think that books give you a way to share experiences with kids in a way that resonates with them – plus they are just fun!"

The school staff was pleased by the amount of support they received from APG.

"It is by all of us working together that our students are able to succeed and become productive members of society," said Buckley. "We are appreciative of the support of the APG community and ARL."


Last Update / Reviewed: March 27, 2014