Read-In LEAPs From Pete The Cat To Politics

Lucy Gellman Photo Mayor Toni Harp may need to move over—there’s a LEAPer, 9-year-old Keyonna Duarte, who wants to mold “the city that reads” into “the city that reads to each other.”

Duarte, a rising fourth grader at Mauro Sheridan, credits the not-for-profit mentorship program Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership (LEAP) with her reading skills. Friday, her time in LEAP’s summer camp brought her to Clinton Avenue School, where the organization was holding a segment of its annual Read-In.

Moved from its normal spot on the New Haven Green due to rain, LEAP held this year’s Read-In at the five school sites where it has daily programs: Clinton Avenue School, Troup School, Hill Central Music Academy, Christopher Columbus Academy and King Robinson Inter-District Magnet School. Adult visitors read books to the kids.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Mayor Harp and an “instrument petting zoo” from the New Haven Symphony Orchestra made appearances at Clinton Avenue School; State Sen. Gary Winfield read in at Hill Central Music Academy, and State Sen. Martin Looney and Ward 7 Alder candidate Abigail Roth attended the Troup School. LEAP Summer Fellow Rachel Tropp said there were 100 students at each location.

Sitting in a small group of six girls at Clinton Avenue School, Duarte found herself captivated, then transformed as AARP Experience Corps volunteer Jody Goggins Kelly read from Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld’s Exclamation Mark, about a young exclamation mark who is just learning how to express himself. As Kelly reached a page of exclamations, Duarte sprang up on her knees, proclaiming “wow!” when it was her turn to point out a word on the page. Beside her, fellow student Diannelys Rodriguez and counselor Shayla Barrett giggled. 

Duarte kept that enthusiasm going as Kelly whipped out five of Eric Litwin’s Pete The Cat books, and Pete sang his groovy button song, refusing to lose hope as his four buttons fell from his shirt and became three, and then two, and then one.

“What do you think is going to happen?” Kelly asked the group.

“It’s gonna fall!” exclaimed Duarte gleefully. Just behind her, Barrett nudged her and whispered don’t spoil it.

But for Duarte, those potential spoilers are part of the need to read, and her realization that she wants to be reading to others more after Friday’s Read-In. First as a teacher — and then maybe as a civil servant.

She first became acquainted with the Pete The Cat books last year, she said, as she was trying to convince her younger cousin Chase to read instead of playing video games during the summer. Chase wasn’t pleased with the suggestion, she recalled; he kicked her. So she suggested she read the books to him. And he warmed to the idea. When she’d learned the groovy button song for him, she went onto other tales of the friendly feline: Pete and his white shoes, Pete and his magic sunglasses, Pete and the new neighbor on the clock.

Watching Kelly in action, Duarte said she feels inspired to do more reading in front of her class when the school year resumes. From there, she said, she wants to become a reading teacher, and then a reading mayor. Her eyes fell to where Toni Harp had sat just 30 minutes beforehand, reading Jane Cowen-Fletcher’s It Takes A Village to a small group of girls in the gymnasium. 

“I wanna be like Miss Toni Harp because you can get good money, and I wanna be rich,” she began. “But I also want to teach people to read and I want to work for government, write essays and books.”

Asked about Harp’s mission to make New Haven into “the city that reads,” Duarte said she agrees with it — but would push for more reading to other peers, students and colleagues as a mentorship activity.

That was good news to Kelly, a retired speech therapist who left the city’s Board of Education six years ago. She said she sees the Read-In (it’s her second year participating) as a way to give back to the community in which she was raised.

“I missed working with kids so much,” she said. “It’s kind of the perfect thing.”

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posted by: Experience Corps on July 17, 2017  11:51am

We are proud of Jody for representing Experience Corps so well!  It is because of wonderful volunteers like Jody that we are able to help New Haven area children learn to (love to) read. We will need more volunteers for the upcoming school year; see http://www.aoascc.org/experiencecorps or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for information.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 17, 2017  2:37pm

Here are some Books that they should read to the children.

Mayor Harp should read to them.

City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York( In her case Betrayal of New Haven)
BY WAYNE BARRETT

http://www.nationinstitute.org/featuredwork/books/1287/city_for_sale:_ed_koch_and_the_betrayal_of_new_york/

Sen. Richard Blumenthal Should read to them.

The lobbyist’s playbook
ByJack Abramoff

https://youtu.be/CHiicN0Kg10


State Sen. Gary Winfield read in at Hill Central Music Academy, and State Sen. Martin Looney and Ward 7 Alder candidate Abigail Roth attended the Troup School. LEAP Summer Fellow Rachel Tropp said there were 100 students at each location.

They should all read to them.

Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism.

By Peter Schweizer

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/throw-them-all-out-peter-schweizer/1110872571?type=eBook

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on July 17, 2017  9:03pm

3/5ths obviously has run into an entirely different class of kids than those I tutor at New Haven Reads.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 17, 2017  9:44pm

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on July 17, 2017 10:03pm

3/5ths obviously has run into an entirely different class of kids than those I tutor at New Haven Reads.

Every here of the school in New York call Little Red School House.

A leader in progressive education since 1921, LREI teaches children to be independent thinkers who work together to solve complex problems. Students graduate from our diverse community as active participants in our democratic society, with the creativity, integrity, and courage to bring meaningful change to the world.

https://www.lrei.org/page#our-mission