Perry Mayor Jay Pattee has read many proclamations during his tenure, but it is unlikely that not until Tuesday had he insisted he did not like Green Eggs and Ham.
Pattee was the first guest reader of a new PACES program at the Perry Elementary Tuesday, and grabbed the Dr. Seuss masterpiece to share with a delighted group of preschool and kindergarten students. He later shared a second book with children in grades 1 and 2 and later with the grade 3-4-5 students.
The program, aimed at increasing the desire of children to read on their own and for fun, is part of a community service project under the direction of Laura Espinoza.
Espinoza is taking a Des Moines-based 10-month course called the “Latina Leadership Initiative” in which Hispanic women learn a variety of ways they can positively impact the community.
“There had been some talk about bringing a literacy program to Perry, and I thought I would make spreading the idea or reading being fun as the community service project students in Latina Leadership Initiative are required to do,” Espinoza explained. “The goal is to make the students enjoy reading as something that they can do for themselves.”
Espinoza said the “Be Our Guest” program would like to use high-visibility public figures and officials as guest readers to both introduce themselves to the children and to share their own love of reading.
“Many of our students do not even know who the mayor is or what he does, so they were excited to meet him,” she said. “In the future we will invite other public officials to share with the students as well.”
In addition to reading to the students, Pattee spent time with each group answering questions, which ranged the gamut from his age, where he worked, how tall he was and how many books he has read.
If the obvious excitement of the students carries beyond Tuesday’s interaction, Espinoza’s goal of spreading the news that “reading is fun” will be a certain hit, not unlike Green Eggs and Ham.