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Author Ellen Klages to join Aspen Elementary School in celebrating Read Across America

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By The Staff

It’s time to celebrate books. Monday recognizes the National Education Association’s Read Across America, an event that reflects a year-long effort to focus on reading and literacy in the nation’s public schools.Aspen Elementary School is taking part in this nation-wide program by hosting a presentation by author Ellen Klages, who wrote “The Green Glass Sea” at 8:30 a.m. Monday.Fourth- through sixth-graders will be able hear Klages talk about her book, librarian Kristine Bennett said. She explained Klages was invited to the school because her book is set in Los Alamos during World War II.Additionally, several teachers at the school are reading Klages’ book and the author will already be in town because of book signing she is doing today at Otowi Station Bookstore and Science Museum.Also, “many students write their own stories (and) I think it’s important that they realize writers are just people and they can do it,” Bennett said. “We got some budding young authors at the school.”Hearing Klages speak, she said, will encourage students to keep writing.Participating in Read Across America, she said, should also spark students’ literary inspirations.“I think it gives students a sense of the importance of reading not but learning about the world around them,” Bennett said. “It’s important to teach the universality of reading.”The program also offers students a break from taking the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment, she said. It’s fun without being disruptive or adding more to people’s plates, she explained.Another literary treat for students in all grades will be honoring Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Bennett said she will read Dr. Seuss’ books throughout next week.“As New Mexico’s Secretary of Education, it is my goal that all of our students have the reading foundations necessary to learn and succeed,” said Veronica Garcia, New Mexico secretary of education, in a press release. “Reading is a life-long skill that opens doors to information, communication, creativity and success. Building a love for reading in our students is essential to motivation, interest and creative personal connections to characters, situations, problem-solving, and critical thinking. The governor and I are dedicated to promoting the importance of reading, early learning opportunities and early intervention.”She continued, “Early programs in literacy are extremely important because in grades kindergarten throug third our students learn to read; in grades four and higher, our students are reading to learn. We must ensure that our students have the five basic components of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension by the end of third grade to be successful in school.”“As I travel across the state and speak to educators and NEA members, I am struck with the ways in which our collective efforts to improve literacy are paying off,” said Sharon Morgan, NEA-NM president, in the release. “NEA-NM members are committed to putting the interests of kids first, and Read Across America activities provide an opportunity to celebrate our work.”