Reading Across America

Photo by Shari Harris
SSG Donley-Morris, left, and SFC Payne read to Mrs. Case’s first grade class.
By Shari Harris

Fort Leonard Wood dispatched soldiers (and family members) Monday on a different sort of mission, visiting 11 schools to read books and interact with students.  Five delegates visited Licking Elementary School.
The kindergarten students were the first to meet the readers, followed by first, then second and finally third grade classes. Students asked questions of the soldiers and enjoyed one or two books read aloud to them.
This was SFC Jennifer Payne’s first time volunteering as a reader, although she has volunteered to help with sports previously. “I think it’s good (to) give back to the community,” Payne commented about the experience.
SSG Shandama Ray Donley-Morris joined Payne in reading to different classes. “I love kids, interacting with kids,” she said.

Photo by Shari Harris
SFC Fang was a hit in Mrs. Haneline’s first grade class.
SFC Romeo Fang was kept busy for quite some time in Mrs. Haneline’s first grade class. Students asked many questions of him and he patiently answered each one. “I imagine when I was little,” Fang explained. “It’s always fun to have someone else (reading).”

Photo by Shari Harris
SSG Russell, left, and SSG Becerra appeared to enjoy 
Becerra’s reading as well as the children in 
Mrs. Moncrief’s second grade class.
The duo of SSG Keddrick Russell and SSG Victor Becerra read to several classes as well. SSG Russell found it easy to connect with the students. “My daughter is in kindergarten. It means a lot to me,” he said of the experience.
SSG Victor Becerra’s animated expressions kept children involved while reading. “I enjoyed it,” he said. “I liked seeing the little kids’ reactions.”



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