For the 839 children at Village School in Holmdel, great storybooks are always in reach.
The pre-K through 3rd grade elementary school has not one but two libraries holding more than 22,000 books at a time when some schools have closed theirs. Media specialists Carol Dempsey and Heidi Buzzanga have regular sessions with children every week to help them pick out a book to take home and reinforce the literacy curriculum. Several parent volunteers help out.
This week, for the "Read Across America" event, reading is front and center at Village School. The long hallways are decorated with lots of Cats in Hats, depicting the beloved Dr. Seuss character who has become a mascot for literacy for the younger set. Fun literacy activities are planned.
On Tuesday, they came to school in red-white-and blue clothes and got to sit at the feet of real hometown heroes, who gently read stories from the library shelves in intimate, story-circle settings. One class moved outside into the sunny courtyard. Predictably, the sing-songy "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss was a top request in every classroom.
As a special bonus, the kids got to interview their guests afterwards, who had taken a break from their regular jobs with from place like the local police, fire and first aid squads, as well as the FBI, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corp, and U.S. Navy.
With his story finished, Holmdel Fire Company 2 Captain John Boyle was overheard answering questions like, "What was the biggest fire you ever went to?" A fire at CEI Fragrances on Route 35, he said. "And the smallest?" There was a mulch fire in front of Piazza Italia yesterday, he answered.