In front of the gaggle of students, Tracie Wilson sat on a small chair, flipping the pages of one book after another, as she read four stories in a melodic performance. The students in Room 3 were enchanted and entranced, giggling at the funny parts of stories and smiling at the rest.
Tracie Wilson, Senior Vice President of Programming and Development for Stamford Media Center, reads to first grade students in Sue Rubeck’s class at Toquam Magnet School in Stamford on Wedneday, April 25, 2012, as part of the Volunteer Center of Southwestern Fairfield County’s annual “Business to Books” read-a-thon. Photo: Lindsay Niegelberg / Stamford Advocate | Buy This Photo
It was fun and engaging, just the way reading should be, Wilson said after she left the classroom. Wilson, who is the senior vice president of programming and development for NBC Universal’s Stamford Media Center, was one of 10 guest readers who visited the kindergarten and first-grade classrooms at Toquam on Wednesday.
The guest readers were part of the Volunteer Center of Southwestern Fairfield County’s annual “Business to Books” read-a-thon, during which volunteers from local companies have and will visit nine elementary schools in the city to read aloud to young students. This is the third year NBC Universal employees have visited Toquam.
“It’s not just the normal people that you’d see, like teachers and administrators, but it’s also adults and community members from all around that are promoting this,” Toquam Principal Mark Woodard said. “And the kids love it because it’s someone different coming in and showing that reading and literacy is important. It’s a change of pace for the kids.”
Hearing the importance of reading from someone outside their local circle helps instill that notion, he said.
And Wilson made it very evident to students that reading is not only fun, but necessary for young children. Think of reading as you think of brushing your teeth; it’s something you need to do every day, she told the students after closing the cover on the fourth and final book she read to the students Wednesday morning.
“For us at NBC, when we made the move to Stamford three years ago, we made the commitment to be part of the community, so we try to get out and do as many things as we can given our work schedule,” Wilson said.
“Just seeing their faces and how exciting they get about reading. And being a mom with young kids, I know the importance of reading,” said Wilson, who has a daughter in kindergarten and another in second grade.
By coming in to school as a stranger and showing that she is willing to share the experience, Wilson said she hoped to show the importance and pleasures of reading, rather than just telling.
After all, that’s just what good stories do: they show, rather than tell.