Read Across America at Skyline celebrates the joy of reading


Kevin Perez /The Skyline View

Gabriel Garrett, a student at Skyline College, volunteered for the Read Across America on March 22, 2017.

Read Across America at Skyline College bridged all age groups in the community through activities that combined fun and education.

The event took place on Wednesday, March 22 in the Multicultural Center. It was inspired by the nationwide Read Across America event that was created and sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA), which takes place every March 2. Skyline did not establish an official partnership with the NEA but decided to celebrate the event at a later date due to scheduling conflicts. Nonetheless, Skyline is keeping with the NEA’s tradition of centering the event around Dr. Seuss’ literary works.

Abigail Magat, the Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC) Senator said that the purpose of the event was to help children discover the joy of reading for fun, provide an opportunity for Skyline students to de-stress during midterms season and to bridge a gap between the ASSC and the Child Development Laboratory Center (CDLC.) However, the most important goal is to mix fun and education for children and adults.

“There will be areas for reading aloud to the children and stations for coloring poetry from well-read authors such as Shel Silverstein and Rupi Kaur,” Magat said. “We want to emphasize the importance of reading to children by showing them that the college students they admire discipline themselves in reading as well, which will hopefully inspire them.”

Dessa Hipilito, the ASSC Commissioner of Activities said that Read Across America’s lighthearted and joyful atmosphere was a great opportunity for Skyline to get involved with the community. “Skyline College values community service,” Hipolito said. “Read Across America was a creative way to encourage more students and faculty to take advantage of these useful resources.”

Magat said that an event that celebrates youth and the pleasure of leisure reading is crucial, especially since many children today set aside the importance of reading in exchange for depending on technology for entertainment.

Anjelica Gacutan-Viloria, the Student Life and Leadership Assistant noted that anyone, not just elementary school kids, who habitually reads for pleasure tend to reap a wide variety of benefits.

“Leisure reading reduces stress, improves empathy and memory, increases writing skills, expands vocabulary and boosts overall health and happiness,” Gacutan-Viloria said. “A major benefit to being a bookworm is that reading encourages one to reach life goals and that doesn’t just benefit students, [it’s] great for faculty, for staff, for anyone really.”

Children in the CDLC who were read to at Read Across America were actually setting the foundation for their academic career.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Education, 26 percent of children who were read to three or four times in the last week by a family member recognized all the letters of the alphabet. This is compared to 14 percent of children who were read to less frequently.

Also, the relationship between parent or family involvement for reading comprehension levels in fourth-grade classrooms is clearly correlated. When family or parent involvement is low in the household, the classroom reading score average is 46 points below the national average. However, when involvement is high, the classroom scores 28 points above the national average.

Hipolito also noted that reading to a child consistently increases their communication skills. When an older person reads to a child, not only do they expand their intellectual abilities but they also learn how to build relationships and socialize with others.

“Reading to a child helps [them] experience different cultures and see the world in another perspective,” Hipolito said. “It also stimulates creative thinking and introspection.”

Gilbert Hernandez, a 27-year-old Accounting student at Skyline said that the highlight of the event was a great social interaction he had with a child who approached him and asked to play with the lint roller on his backpack.

“He started sticking the lint roller on his face, my face and everything around him,” Hernandez said. “It was funny but I’m glad this event made kids feel at ease with hanging out and talking to older people they aren’t very familiar with.”

Skyline students who volunteered had a chance to de-stress in the heat of midterms. Hipolito mentioned that Read Across America also provided students with an opportunity of self-care.

Tala Husary, an undeclared 19-year-old Skyline student, said that the joyful atmosphere helped her get through an intense week of testing. She sat on the floor surrounded by friends and children equipped with coloring materials and various books.

“When I was reading and coloring with the kids, I totally forgot that I had a test twenty minutes later,” Husary said. “I got so much stress off my shoulders.”