SMSD Joins in Kansas Reads to Preschoolers

SMSD Joins in Kansas Reads to Preschoolers
Shawnee Mission School District

Pre-Kindergarten students across the district welcomed special guests who joined a statewide activity to promote reading and early literacy.

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Hubbard and multiple members of the Shawnee Mission School District Leadership Team visited classrooms and read to students as part of the annual Kansas Reads to Preschoolers event. This year’s state book selection, selected by the state librarian Eric Norris and the Kansas Reads to Preschoolers committee, was “Grumpy Bird” by Jeremy Tankard.  

Johnson County Library generously provided each Shawnee Mission School District Pre-K classroom and the Shawnee Mission Early Childhood Education Center (SMECEC) with a copy of the book.

“We were pleased to take part in Kansas Reads to Preschoolers 2021, which helps promote reading to all children from birth through age five,” Leigh Anne Neal, chief of early childhood learning and sustainability shared. “We appreciate the generosity of Johnson County Library for providing our students with the picture book resource and fun reading activity.”

Dr. Hubbard read to students in Julie Clemens’s classroom at Rhein Benninghoven Elementary School. Clemens and her students extended the lesson by exploring related songs, drawing, and creative movement.

“I hope we can continue to foster a love of books and literacy by connecting our young learners to more high quality children’s literature through such programs,” Clemens shared.

Visits from reading guests provided an opportunity to increase overall engagement,Carla Heintz, SMECEC principal noted.

“Reading to young children is one of the best things you can do to support their academic success,” Heintz expressed. “Being read to increases vocabulary and builds print awareness skills by showing how letters form words and how those words communicate meaning. It also builds listening skills, increases attention span, and helps a child’s ability to concentrate — all while sparking curiosity and imagination.”

A special thanks to all Shawnee Mission Kansas Reads to Preschoolers readers:

Dr. Michelle Hubbard, superintendent, who read in Julie Clemens’s pre-K classroom at Rhein Benninghoven

Dr. Joe Gilhaus, deputy superintendent, who read in Jamie Froman’s pre-K classroom at Merriam Park

David Stubblefield, associate superintendent of leadership and learning, who read in Amber Pagan’s pre-K classroom at Nieman and Stephanie Weiss Flanders’s classroom at SMECEC

David A. Smith, chief communications officer, who read in Kari Schwartz’s classroom at Crestview

Dr. Michael Schumacher, associate superintendent of human resources, who read in Emily Rundle’s classroom at SMECEC

Dr. Darren Dennis, chief academic officer, who read in Katie Luschen’s classroom at Trailwood

Find out more about Pre-K in the Shawnee Mission School District here: