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Evangel Education faculty members volunteer at local literacy event

February 15, 2013 | Paul K. Logsdon

Nothing compares to that look on a child’s face when they are truly engaged in a story being read to them.

This rang true for a group of adults — including three Evangel University faculty members — who were more than willing to help when an opportunity arose to volunteer at Springfield’s Williams Elementary School recently.

A buzz of excitement filled the air at Pastries for Parents, a literacy event for students that drew parents and other volunteers to Williams last fall.

 “I loved reading to the students and seeing them benefit from a large number of adults modeling good parenting strategies,” says Dr. Peggy Reed, associate professor of early childhood education at Evangel.

The three Evangel faculty members were Dr. Colleen Hardy, chair of the Department of Education, Dr. Fred Drake, professor of middle school education, and Dr. Reed.

“We feel that it is important for our Education Department faculty to show support for the local schools, especially in the promotion of literacy events,” Reed says. “Any time we support events in the public schools, we strengthen our ties with the community.”

The EU faculty members arrived at the schoolroom early in the morning and visited with other volunteers.

Jennifer Webb — the principal of Williams Elementary School and a 2007 graduate of Evangel’s Master of Education in Educational Leadership program — addressed those gathered and offered a few suggestions for reading to the students before the children came in.

Moments later, children poured into the room, wide-eyed and eager to listen to the stories read by the visitors.

Along with the parents and EU professors, other teachers and school personnel from Williams read to small groups of children that were gathered around. The event was coordinated by Sharon Chesler, who serves as literacy intervention specialist at Williams Elementary.

“This was the first year that the Evangel teachers attended the event, but we hope it won’t be our last,” says Reed. “We would love to attend Pastries for Parents again. We loved reading to the children.”

 — Kelsey Reinhard, Evangel senior and student public relations assistant

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