• 57°

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

Read to Me

Todd Hildebran talks with 4-year-olds after reading ‘All for Pie and Pie for All.' Susan Shinn/Smart Start Rowan

Todd Hildebran talks with 4-year-olds after reading ‘All for Pie and Pie for All.’ Susan Shinn/Smart Start Rowan

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.



Cannon Mills’ whistle sounds again, brings nostalgia with it


Outbreak at jail annex over; new cases emerge at Kannapolis facility


In Senate race, Tillis calibrates ties to Trump


5 Charlotte officers recommended for dismissal after death in custody


Trump, Biden hit unlikely battleground state of Minnesota


Maui Invitational moving to Asheville during pandemic


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87


Blotter: Sept. 19


Kannapolis brewery linked to eight COVID-19 positives


Local Democrats call to ‘turn the state blue’ during virtual office reopening


Funding flat, enrollment down slightly for Rowan-Salisbury Schools


Catawba gets high marks in U.S. News and World rankings for fifth year


China Grove soap store sets sights on expansion into Kannapolis


Charlotte, UNC game canceled after 49ers place players in quarantine


Blotter: Sept. 18


County sees ninth COVID-19 death this week, more than 30 cases reported


Gov. Cooper announces schools can move K-5 to plan A; school board vote needed locally


Wet weather brings crashes, traffic to standstill on interstate


Salisbury man victim of Facebook scam, duped out of $2,000


Two charged after fight outside Salisbury home


Rowan-Salisbury Schools ships out thousands of old devices for refurbishing


Caught in the infodemic: NC school policies frustrated by scientific challenges

East Spencer

East Spencer to hold community day, provide free food, supplies