Richmond, Va. , March 4, 2020 —
Defense Logistics Agency Aviation military members joined with approximately 40 other community members to read to Bensley Elementary School children during their celebration of the National Education Association’s Read Across America March 2. Bensley is in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
Service members from the Air Force and Marine Corps read a selection of books to preschoolers and fourth and fifth graders.
Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Brian Scoggins and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Farris answered questions from Mary Jaco’s fifth graders about their military careers prior to reading, respectively, “The Sweetest Fig” by Chris Van Allsburg and sharing a true story from “Heroes of Hurricane Katrina” by Allan Zullo.
The lesson Scoggins’ book shared was to be kind to others, including pets, in case eating a magic fig “makes your dreams come true."
Air Force Staff Sgt. Terrance Branch enjoyed reading “Snail Mail” by Samantha Berger to fourth graders in Denise Mitchell’s class.
Branch said the experience was awesome and he looks forward to doing it again.
“The children were very surprised that “snail mail” or “old-time” mail delivery could take from two days to two weeks to arrive,” he said.
Air Force Tech Sgt. Dalton Thomas helped Ashton Grubbs’ fourth graders learn how to change enemies to friends while reading the book “Enemy Pie” by Derek Munson.
Air Force Capt. Juliann Plank said it was an absolute pleasure reading Skippyjon Jones to the fifth graders.
“The children definitely got a kick out of me thrusting my imaginary sword into the air and shouting “Holy Frijoles” while reading the book,” she said.
Patrice Wilson, who has a doctorate in educational leadership and is Bensley’s principal, said she appreciated community partners like DLA Aviation and a host of others that have been supportive of Bensley for quite some time.
“Education, especially literacy is the equalizer for many of our students and to see the sheer number of partners that came out to kickoff Read Across America with us today was pure joy!” she said.
While Read Across America is celebrated each March, the NEA has activities and tools, including resources for free books, on their website to motivate and encourage a love of reading year round.