Horace Mann first-grader Jack Johnston and Smith-Cotton High sophomore John Isaac Traffandstedt took turns reading passages from the children’s book “Sloppy Joe” by Dave Keane.
“What kind of dog does the sun have? A hot dog!” Jack read, sharing a laugh with his reading partner.
Traffandstedt was one of several S-C JROTC cadets and about 30 volunteers who turned out at Horace Mann Elementary on Wednesday for the school’s annual Literacy Night. Connie Dohrman, a Horace Mann Title 1 communication arts teacher, said the event is meant to demonstrate to students that adults from all walks of life enjoy reading. In addition to S-C JROTC cadets, other readers included members of the State Fair Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as representatives from the Daum Museum, the Sedalia Public Library Foundation and the Mid-Missouri Outlaws.
“We are always preaching ‘read to learn,’ ” Dohrman said. “We have a really diverse group of readers, and listening to an adult read to them helps instill in them that reading is a lifelong joy.”
For his part, Jack said he enjoyed the story because the title character “likes crickets and frogs.” A part of one of the school’s mixed age classroom, Jack said he enjoys reading, especially books about ghosts, monsters and dinosaurs — especially Dracula and Godzilla.
Alan Johnston, Jack’s father, said he and his wife encourage Jack, and his sister, Anna, to read instead of watching television at night.
“I wish I could take credit for that, but that is really my wife’s doing. He is really coming along with his reading, and his sister likes to help him,” Alan said.
Traffandstedt said he enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the reading night and was impressed with the younger students.
“This is a really good time. It’s a great experience to read to the children,” he said. “Even as a teenager you forget what it is like to be that age; just observing them and sitting with them, it is kind of like looking back.”