Volunteers Instill Love of Reading in Students at UCC-related Hoffman Academy

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, Dr. Seuss

Nurse Amy reads “The Nose Book” by Dr. Seuss to captivated students.

To celebrate and encourage the love of reading, UCC-related Hoffman Academy in Littlestown, Pa., was one of many schools across the country participating in Read Across America this past March.

“Hoffman Academy has participated in Read Across America since we opened in 2015,” says Patricia Masemer, school counselor. Each year, “the elementary level teachers host the event in their classroom,” and volunteers — that include everyone from therapists and kitchen staff to CEO Melissa Leathery — take turns reading to the children.

Created by the National Education Association, Read Across America is normally held on or near March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to millions of adults and children as Dr. Seuss.

At Hoffman Academy, Read Across America takes place in the morning, when a story is read to the students every hour until lunchtime. “Participants go to the assigned classroom and read a story to the class,” Masemer says. “After reading the story, the teacher completes an activity related to the book with the students.”

Food Service staff Judy and Bonnie take turns reading to the students.

Although weather caused Hoffman Academy to postpone this year’s event until March 29, it was still met with enthusiasm, by both volunteer readers and students.

“The best parts of the event were staff taking the time to volunteer and share their love of reading with the kids,” Masemer says. “The volunteers enjoyed begin able to interact with the students in a new and fun way, and the students were excited to see who the next guest reader was going to be.”

Additional perks for the students were being able to see staff in a different way, and to listen to stories they enjoy, Masemer adds.

The feedback from the students made the event worth the effort. “Dr. Seuss writes fun and funny books,” said one. Another agreed, adding, “I love reading and want to read the books again!”

Hoffman Academy is part of UCC-related Hoffman Homes for Youth. Hoffman Homes works to  promote the personal growth and achievement of the children and families it serves through continuous quality improvement, education, staff development, and the use of evidence-based practices. Hoffman Academy is a licensed, private academic school, located in the Gettysburg Area School District, on the campus of Hoffman Homes for Youth. The Academy meets the needs of students requiring special education services for emotional support.

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