California Educator

MARCH 2011

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Cooks stir up fun for Read Across America Y oungsters at Las Americas Preschool in San Fran- cisco were so captivated by the reading of Armadilly Chili that they begged for a second helping when the story ended. “Again!” they implored CTA President David A. Sanchez when he finished the final page. “Again!” They were among millions of children throughout California and the rest of the nation cele- brating Read Across America, a March 2 tradition sponsored by NEA and CTA designed to fos- ter a love of reading in children. CTA members were joined by celebrities, parents and city of- ficials at many participating school sites, and Las Americas Preschool was no exception. Chef Tom Pizzica, host of “Out- rageous Food” on the Food Net- work, shared reading duties with Sanchez. “When you have a book you can’t put down, it’s a great feel- ing,” said Pizzica, one of three honorary co-chairs for RAA, whose theme this year was “Serve Up a Good Book.” (An- other co-chair was Joan Scharff, vice president of Garden Fresh Corp.) The youngsters were hungry for more, and Sanchez asked them in both English and Span- ish to answer questions about Armadilly Chili, a book written by Helen Ketteman that empha- sizes cooking and friendship as essential ingredients in life. Af- terward the youngsters happily donned paper chef hats distrib- uted by the adults. “I like reading,” said 4-year- old Rafael. “It helps you to learn about people, animals, cooking and other things.” “We really should be celebrat- ing reading every day,” said Sanchez. “It’s wonderful when parents and friends take the op- portunity to model reading for our students so they can be good readers themselves.” Unfortunately, budget cuts may threaten children’s access to books and school libraries, said Dennis Kelly, president of United Educators of San Fran- cisco, who at tended the festivities along with Bonnie LEFT TO RIGHT: CTA Vice President Dean E. Vogel and Read Across America Honorary Chair Doreen Fang read to young patients at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. Students enjoy a reading by Honorary Chair Tom Pizzica and CTA Presi- dent David A. Sanchez at Las Americas Preschool in San Francisco. To the far right, CTA Board member Jim Groth, Lakeside Teachers Association President and first-grade teacher Cathy Zmijewski, Souplantation public relations specialist Tracy Marks, and CTA Secretary-Treasurer Gail Mendes read to students in Zmijewski’s classroom in suburban San Diego. ABOVE: CTA President David A. Sanchez reads from Armadilly Chili for the March 2 Read Across America celebration. Shatun, CTA Board liaison for the statewide event. Farther south at the Toyota Learning Center at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, “The Next Food Network Star” finalist and honorary RAA co- chair Doreen Fang joined CTA Vice President Dean Vogel and CTA Board member Mikki Cichocki to spend the morning reading Armadilly Chili to ill and Photos (left to right) by Frank Wells, Scott Buschman, Scott Buschman, Scott Buschman, Bill Guy 24 California Educator | MARCH 2011 Photo by Scott Buschman

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