Nothing has the power to lift spirits and open minds like great stories. And Read Across Pasadena 2021 was full of wonderful stories, opened minds, and lifted souls. This annual celebration of reading is something both students and readers look forward to each year – a dedicated storytime to delight in together.
Last week, Pasadena Unified elementary schools invited members of the community into remote-learning classrooms to share their love of reading. Participation looked different this year, taking place via the internet. It was an exciting view into the virtual school day of our youngest students.
Through partnerships with Tournament of Roses and Pasadena-Foothills Association of REALTORS®, along with our very own volunteers, PEF helped schools connect community members with students for storytime. And this year Read Across Pasadena was buoyed by the recent donation of 3,000 new children’s books to PUSD students by the Tournament and it’s book partner, Literati. Books were distributed to students alongside curbside meals on March 1.
Volunteers felt they gained the most from their experience. The curiosity and engagement of the students was a notable takeaway. It left all those who participated feeling privileged to have been allowed to into their classrooms.
As adults, we see ourselves as the “teachers”. But it’s the youngest among us who teach us to find joy in our everyday stories.
Special thanks to all of the PUSD students who delighted us with their open hearts and inquisitive minds!
Here’s what some our readers had to say about their experience:
“What a joy! I received much more from the experience, than the kids. It lifted my day and week! My thanks to all the PUSD teachers and staff who do the work they do in support of our kids and families day in and day out.”
– Bob Miller/President, Tournament of Roses
“I was able to share a small piece of my childhood with a younger generation, and that was a great way to start my day. Working remotely every day we get numb to the camera and the meetings; but seeing students learning, thriving and engaging with their teacher just makes you appreciate everything we’ve overcome in the last year. The PUSD staff have done an amazing job supporting the students and keeping them involved with learning.”
– Rian Barrett/Government Affairs Director, PFAR
“Reading to our children in the PUSD was absolutely delightful! I had the opportunity to read for three elementary schools and it was a joy to do. I look forward to participating in Read Across America next year!”
– Jennifer Hall Lee/PUSD Trustee
“I enjoyed the experience tremendously. The students were clearly engaged and interested in hearing and seeing the books in Spanish and in English. What a delightful opportunity to engage with students as best as we can during the pandemic! I enjoyed the experience so much that I am going to do more reading this Friday!”
– Laura Farber/Past President, Tournament of Roses
“I had a very wonderful experience with a group of engaging 1st graders in Ms. Macias’ class at McKinley Elementary. I read three books to the students and they would have gladly listened to more. The children were very interested in each and asked and responded to questions about what was read to them. My time with the children was rewarding and heartwarming. As I read I could see many of the kids move closer to their computer screens so they could clearly see the contents of each book. I watched as they started to smile at the many parts of each book in utter amazement at the contents that they were hearing. I could not think of a better way to start my day but to read to a group of children who wanted to hear the stories I read.
I think I received just as much from the experience as the children did.
Ms. Macias’ class was a recipient of a $1,000 Tournament of Roses scholarship. She expressed her sincere appreciation to the Tournament for the money the class received.
On a funnier note Murphy came to work with me today. The children wanted to meet him so he climbed up on the desk with his front paws and greeted the kids.”
– Alex Aghajanian/Treasurer, Tournament of Roses
“We are extremely honored to share the story book ‘Chirri & Chirra Underground’ with the lovely third grade students of Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy today. Read Across Pasadena organized by Pasadena Education Foundation gave us an excellent opportunity to contribute to PUSD.
We are very grateful to the staff and all the lovely children who participated in today’s story time!
– Lily & Audrey Xu, PEF Volunteers
“This is truly one of my favorite days of the school year!”
– Scott Harden, Don Benito PTSA President and PEF Volunteer
By Nancy Carol Inguanzo | PEF Volunteer & Engagement Manager