Brookfield School Resource Officer Gerald Hockey shows an illustration from "Grandpa's Teeth" to Brookfield Elementary third graders.

Brookfield School Resource Officer Gerald Hockey shows an illustration from “Grandpa’s Teeth” to Brookfield Elementary third graders.

One of the things that went by the wayside when the COVID-19 pandemic hit was community members coming into Brookfield Elementary classrooms, said Principal Stacey Filicky.

The school used Read Across America Week to restart the community presence.

“We hadn’t had community members in for such a long time,” Filicky said. “Our kids need to know that all these people are out there in Brookfield doing what they need to do to support them.”

The school invited school administrative officials, higher-grade teachers, township officials and members of the police and fire departments to read books to students on March 4.

Having new faces in the classroom reading to students shows the students that reading can be enjoyable, said Kristen Foster, the school’s director of teaching, learning and accountability.

“I feel like sometimes there’s so much going on that we need to make sure that they find that pleasure in reading and (are) able to use their imagination and (are) able to enjoy an actual book,” said Foster, who read “I’m Better Being a Bunny” and “Are You My Mother?” to Amanda O’Neill’s first grade class.

The adults show that the love for reading goes beyond the classroom, Foster said.

“They (students) love that interaction,” Foster said. “It keeps them excited.”

Filicky, who read “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover” to Tara Kovach’s second-grade class, said research has shown that the more children are read to, the more they will read themselves.

Most of her teachers read to students each day, she said.

“It goes a long way,” she said.

Read Across America Week, March 2 to 6, evolved from celebrations of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. School officials also promoted school spirit that week by having theme dress-up days, such as Cat in the Hat Day and Wacky Wednesday, when students wore mismatched clothes.

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