Butterfield Elementary School played host to community readers Monday as part of the 12th Annual Read to Kids Day, but the stars were dogs, Luke and Zoey.
Patti Rulli and her dog, Luke, were on hand to read to kindergarten students about something they could see firsthand—a collie.
“This dog really likes books,” said one young man, who tried to get the dog to smile for the camera.
Rulli and fellow dog handler Bill Townsend, with his dog Zoey, are regulars at Butterfield, working with special needs students there.
Both dogs are certified in Reading Educational Assistance. They lay quietly on the floor, surrounded by kindergarteners who petted them over and over while listening to the stories.
Volunteers like MUSD Curriculum Director Krista Roden, dressed in a pink Mother Goose costume, read to students in Butterfield’s five kindergarten classes. Participating teachers were Kayla Colling, Jacque Irwin, Amber Jensen, Benita Polidore and Jennifer Seaman.
Other readers included Maricopa Mayor Anthony Smith, Maricopa Police Chief Kirk Fitch and Assistant to the City Manager Patrick Melvin.
Melvin read “The Grouchy Ladybug,” a story about a self-important bug with no manners who was always trying to pick a fight.
“With kids you really have to get the animation right,” said Melvin.
The purpose of the annual Read to Kids Day is to create a love for reading while building strong vocabularies in young children through kindergarten.
United Way, the sponsoring organization, donates a book to the child’s classroom or library for every book a volunteer reads. In addition, every child receives a book to take home.
See the readers in action in the slideshow:
Photos by Joyce Hollis