Army Reserves members read to students

Published Mar 10, 2014 at 10:15 am (Updated Mar 10, 2014 at 10:15 am)

Kindergarten and first grade students in the Upper St. Clair School District had some very special visitors in their classrooms on March 6. Members from the U.S. Army Reserves School Specialist Team were at Baker, Eisenhower, and Streams Elementary Schools to read to the students for “Read Across America” week, a national reading celebration to honor the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

At Streams Elementary School, Major Karl Maier shared Dr. Seuss classics with the kindergarten classes and first grade classes and answered questions for the students.

Streams’ principal Dr. Claire Miller said that 20 minutes of daily reading is a powerful habit for the brain. “Anything we can do to foster a love of reading in our kids, we’re doing it.”

Major Maier told the students, “I like to read a lot when I’m away.” He said reading was a way for him to relax, adding that he enjoyed keeping up with the Pittsburgh Penguins through magazines and newspapers that people sent him.

Maier’s son Jacob is in second grade at Streams, and when Major Maier was deployed last year, he corresponded with the students in Jacob’s first grade class. “It was fun to write back and forth to the kids and interact with them,” he said.

In addition to Jacob, Major Maier and his wife Leigh have an older son, Patrick, a sixth grader at Boyce Middle School, and a daughter, Clancy, 3.

Major Maier said he enjoys visiting the schools and meeting with the students. He said many of them don’t have a lot of exposure to the military and the school visits give the kids a chance to see a different side of the service.

Rebecca Smith, Elementary Social Studies Curriculum Leader (K-4) for the Upper St. Clair School District, and Streams’ Elementary Resource Teacher, said that Read Across America helps the students to show support for our military and their families and to celebrate the importance of reading in our daily lives.

After the visits, students were invited to be part of an event the U.S. Army Reserves is hosting for military kids later in March and April. As part of the event, the military children will be presented with letters written to them by students. Smith said students will also honor the sacrifices made by military families this April, when they all wear purple to “purple up” for the military child.

This fall, the elementary students partnered with the U.S. Army Reserves School Specialist Team to fill back backs for military kids.

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