FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — (March 2, 2023) Soldiers volunteered to read to about 4,500 children in schools across mid-Missouri today as the Fort Leonard Wood community participated in Read Across America Day.
First celebrated in 1998, the day provides an annual opportunity to coordinate a nationwide effort to encourage reading in children and teenagers.
Jeanie Wade, librarian and media specialist at Partridge Elementary School, said she looks forward to Read Across America Day because it is an opportunity to get children excited about reading.
“It is so nice to have a volunteer come read to our students. It’s important to show children that reading isn’t just a kid thing,” Wade said. “It makes it special for the students. It demonstrates that reading isn’t a chore; they can do it as a hobby.”
Wade said reading can give children another outlet besides cellphones, video games and television.
“Reading can give kids an escape. Events like this remind students that they can come to me, and I will help them figure out what they are interested in,” Wade added.
Col. Anthony Pollio, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, said this was the first Read Across America Day he has ever participated in, and he was impressed by the children’s comprehension of the stories.
“They had lots of good questions,” he said.
Pollio read three books to the students, and he said he had a great time at the event because one of his favorite things to do is read.
“This was an awesome opportunity for me to share something I enjoy, to get them excited about reading on their own,” Pollio said.
About 90 Fort Leonard Wood Soldiers read in about 235 classrooms for Read Across America Day this year, and Pollio said he was proud of all the volunteers.
“One of the primary missions for the garrison is to support service members and their families. This is just one additional way we can support families,” Pollio said. “I appreciate all the volunteers that came out to support the event today, because is it important for us to give back to the community to create the community we want.”
More Read Across America Day photos are available on the Fort Leonard Wood Flickr page.
About Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains nearly 80,000 military and civilians each year.
Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.
Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.
More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/about/mission