Kids say ‘Read to Me’ and Smart Start board does

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 25, 2015

By Susan Shinn

Smart Start Rowan

There’s not a kid on the planet who doesn’t like hearing a good story, and members of the Smart Start Rowan board took advantage of that fact recently during the Read to Me program.

The program took place during Smart Start Rowan’s Week of the Young Child. Todd Hildebran, board chairman, read Tuesday morning at the Livingstone Head Start Program. He invited his friend, David Potts, to come along. Elaine Spalding, another board member, also read to the children.

Each of the readers gave their books to the classroom after they read. “Sheep Blast Off,” “Half-Pint Pete the Pirate,” “All for Pie and Pie for All” are now a part of the Livingstone Head Start library.

Spalding has a reading buddy at Overton Elementary School as a volunteer in the Communities in Schools program, she said. “Any time I can get a chance to read to children in Rowan County, I’m happy to do that,” said Spalding, who heads the Chamber of Commerce. “They are the future of our community.”

Potts, an independent computer consultant, has had plenty of experience reading children’s books aloud. He has seven granddaughters and two great-granddaughters. He and Hildebran, a local businessman, are friends through Andrew Jackson Masonic Lodge 576, where Hildebran serves as master. They are also in Kiwanis Club together.

When Spalding entered the 3-year-old classroom, she found the children singing “6 Little Monkeys,” and joined right in.

“Is everybody doing OK?” she asked, to which the children responded with an enthusiastic “YES!”

They talked about the rainy day, how rain makes the flowers grow, and had random conversations in the way that only 3-year-olds can.

“Your wonderful teachers invited me to read a book,” Spalding told the children. “Is that OK?”

Spalding received another enthusiastic “YES!”

“Do you like to read?” she said, and yet again, they answered affirmatively.

“The thing about 3- and 4-year-olds is that they are honest,” Potts said after his session.

Hildebran and his wife are empty-nesters, he said, so it’s been awhile since he’s read aloud to children.

“It certainly makes a difference,” he said. “If your children aren’t in an early education program, get them involved. It makes a difference throughout their lives.”

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.