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Imagining future careers, inspired to keep learning

‘Special reader day’ encourages students to read and engage with community

Photography by Dianne Carroll Burdick

Godfrey-Lee — “Oh, the places you will go” when you read books at Godfrey Elementary.

In honor of Reading Month, the school invited community members to visit third-, fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms to read a book to the students and share information about their careers. 

Guest readers included School Resource Officer Pam Keen, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent Bianca Edwards, Godfrey-Lee school board members and Grand Rapids City Commissioner Milinda Ysasi, as well as individuals with careers in computer coding, accounting, wealth management, nursing, community advocacy and engineering.

Related: ’Michigan Chillers’ author visits Pine Island 

KSSN Community School Coordinator Meghan Deckinga helped compile a list of questions to ask the community readers “that might help students feel seen, understood, and capable of conquering any obstacles in their lives as well as consider careers.”

“We hope this special reader day is a chance for students to imagine themselves in different careers and to be inspired to keep learning,” Deckinga said.

Some readers visited classrooms and some read over a Zoom call projected in front of the class. Students could also follow along in their own books or use virtual copies on their devices. 

“March is Reading Month, so we want to make reading funand exciting for students and staff and take time to do extra activities.” Deckinga said. “Special reader day is just one thing that we are doing to encourage students to read and engage with their community.”

Fourth-graders Nyasia Rivas, left, and Jazlynn Crawford follow along with the community reader on their laptops
Scott Kelly and his fifth- grade students, from L-R, Jair Cabanas Landa, Mariana Guerrero-Corona, Onesimo Monteja-Vizcarra, Josephine Shindano, Lyric Morgan and Elianna Montoya, watch their guest reader over Zoom
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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter, covering Caledonia, Kenowa Hills, Godfrey-Lee, Grand Rapids and is a roving reporter for GRCC, Wyoming, Kentwood and Byron Center. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News - covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry.  Following a stint as a copywriter for a Grand Rapids area PR firm, she transitioned from communications to freelance writing and reporting for SNN.  Read Alexis' full bio

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