With their eyes open wide and legs crossed, students in two voluntary pre-kindergarten classes quietly listened as their guest story teller read books to them this week.
District Five Commissioner Vanessa Baugh led story time Jan. 14 at Kiddie Academie of Lakewood Ranch as part of Celebrate Literacy Week. To promote the importance of reading, the school invited the commissioner to read to two classes, consisting of 4- and 5 year olds.
The mother of four and grandmother of 10 accepted.
"I love children," Baugh said, smiling. "Can you tell?"
Karen Krienen and Debbie Frazoni's students — collectively named the parrot class — sat silently as Baugh read "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn. Krienen reads the story to her classes at the start of each school year to make the students feel more comfortable with leaving home for the first time, she said.
Baugh read a more mathematical story to Chelsea Jervis' students, "Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons" by Eric Litwin. Baugh worked with the students to perform basic subtraction as she read the story.
Friday wraps up the Florida Department of Education's week of celebrating reading and educating students about the link between literacy and today's careers.
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