First Lady promotes reading at area elementary schools
November 16. 2012 6:00AM
She doesn’t have to clean the chandeliers at the Governor’s Mansion and admits, that yes, she’s gotten lost in it since taking up residency there a year almost two years ago. There’s no room service or a butler at the mansion, but it’s a wonderful place to play hide-n-go-seek.
Those were just a few answers to questions posed by Valley Springs Elementary students when First Lady Daugaard made a visit to the school last week. Valley Springs Elementary was one of four area schools she stopped by in her ongoing effort to improve literacy among South Dakota’s youth.
Jennifer Strand’s fifth grade classroom was the 182nd group of fifth graders the First Lady has met with since beginning her Reach Out and Read program. “But there’s over 400 groups of South Dakota fifth graders,” she told the students.
In addition to her classroom visits to third, fourth and fifth grades across the state, Mrs. Daugaard is also helping youngsters exchange books. On Thursday, she brought a stack of books from Jefferson Elementary, and took a stack from Valley Springs Elementary that will go to Fred Assam Elementary. From her time as a school librarian, the First Lady knows the importance of keeping a child engaged in those years.
“Third, fourth, and fifth grade is around the time that many students lose interest in reading,” she said. “It is important to spread enthusiasm about reading at this crucial point in a child’s development.”
Also as part of the Reach Out and Read program, which is administered by the Department of Social Services, the program provides age-appropriate books to infants through 5-year-old children during child well-checks.
“Reading is the basis for all other learning, and one can never start too soon,” said Mrs. Daugaard. “The books serve as a positive stimulus for children and are often their first exposure to literacy.”
The First Lady also read to students at Robert Bennis Elementary, Brandon Elementary and Garretson Elementary last week.