Camp Allen Readers Move It Madagascar Style with Radio Celebrity
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With quick flicks of the wrists and a wiggle of fingers, Ben Mooers’ arms weaved and wobbled in the air above the heads of his fourth-grade friends. The sudden eruption into dance moves by the animated 9-year-old sent classmate Rebecca Hunter into a fit of giggles.
“I like to move it, move it,” Mooer sang loudly and Hunter chimed in. Suddenly, all of Barbara Preston’s fourth grade class at Camp Allen Elementary School were dancing and singing.
Camp Allen sponsored a reading contest for a two week stint in January. Preston’s fourth grade class swept the competition by logging more than 8,000 minutes of reading time. That’s roughly 400 minutes per child. Not a small feat, according to Preston, and well deserving of a visit from local radio celebrity Theressa Brown of 95.7 R&B last week. What the students didn’t know, however, was what Brown was bringing with her to the party.
“I’ve got presents for all of you,” Brown announced. “Plus, I’ve got tickets for all of you to go see Madagascar Live! tonight at Chrysler Hall!”
Brown showered the students with gifts, pizza for lunch, and cupcakes. She also worked with Seven Venues to score the free tickets to the show and brought a costumed actor to the school to visit with the students. But her real reason for being at Camp Allen, Brown said, was to read. The radio host put her vocals to the test by reading three stories to the students, all in celebration of Black History Month.
"Reading is one of the best gifts you can give to children,” Brown said. You can never lose the gift of reading.”
Brown promotes literacy through her Reading and Succeeding Program by visiting schools, daycares, churches and community centers to read stories to school age children. Media Assistant Angela Ferebee wanted to invite Brown to Camp Allen and spearheaded the January reading contest with the support of the school’s principal, Dr. Sheri Archer.
Students like 9-year-old Kerionne Ussin were thrilled.
“It’s exciting to have Ms. Brown read to us because she has such a great voice and she loves books,” Ussin said. “She reminded us how important reading is and why it makes a difference in your life.”
“She brought books I hadn’t read before and they were cool stories,” Mooer said. “Reading takes you to a whole new place and helps you to move it!”