Laughter and literacy joined hands Friday morning when some 75 adult volunteers gave 90 minutes to read to about 100 Perry Elementary School students in the Everybody Wins! Iowa special event.
After signing in and gathering in the school library, the volunteer mentors were greeted by Perry Elementary School Principal Ned Menke and thanked for their commitment to the literacy of Perry’s youth.
After a brief orientation by Everybody Wins! Iowa Program Director Christine Russell and Perry Site Coordinator Kathleen Eineke, the volunteers were led to the third-grade classrooms, where they formed one-to-one and two-to-one teams and started in reading “What Makes You Cough, Sneeze, Burp, Hiccup, Blink, Yawn, Sweat and Shiver?” by Jean Stangl.
Perry Elementary School Third Grade teacher Erin Galivan, for example, welcomed 15 mentors to her colorful classroom, including Julius Little, 94, and Wilmeth Nichols, 94, who made the trek from Spring Valley Assisted Living in order to share their reading legacy.
“Reading is a lifelong gift,” said Nichols, who said she works her way through three or four books weekly from the Perry Public Library.
“We had a lot of fun,” Little said after the event. “The youngsters warmed right up to us.”
The United Way of Central Iowa provided the Stangl book, which was too long to read in one sitting — some teams hardly had time to burp — and the packets the kids took home also included a crossword puzzle and other word-centered fun.
Perry Elementary’s Everybody Wins! Iowa weekly mentoring group is one of 72 programs at 34 sites in Dallas, Polk, Warren and Marion counties. More than 500 mentors and students are teamed up in the reading program.
“We can always use more volunteers,” Eineke said. “We have plenty of children who need a little help with reading.”
For more information about Everybody Wins! or to volunteer, call Kathy Miner at 515-465-2441.