“I was just rescuing this cat. Know why? Because I’m a good egg,” reads Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski to a room filled with kindergarteners at Dayton Elementary School. The mayor’s reading of “The Good Egg” is part of the school’s annual program called Leaders as Readers.
“Kindergarteners come into the classroom in the fall knowing very little letters and sounds,” says teacher Carol Howard. “The first week we walk through the hallways and outside and look at words on the walls, outside of the bathroom, and on street signs. I tell them that ‘readers read the world.’ This is a chant we use daily in the classroom.”
Throughout the year, students talk about the importance of being an avid reader. “Professional basketball players are not born knowing how to play basketball, they have to practice to get better. Readers need practice to get better too,” says Howard.
Various community leaders are invited to come share a story with the students and how reading is important to their job. In addition to the mayor, students heard from police officers, Principal Simmons and TSC Superintendent Scott Hanback.
Dr. Hanback's selection “The King, the Mice and the Cheese,” generated a lot of laughter as he shared the tale of a king who makes problems worse when he tries to prevent mice from eating his beloved cheese: “The wise men brought in cats….big cats, little cats, fat cats and thin cats.”
Howard has also posted photographs in the hallway that show staff members reading to their children. She hopes through this activity that students know they can become whatever they want with reading and hard work: “So now when they walk through the hallways they are reading the world, just like all the leaders they met.”