All Aboard: Reading Bus Tour Rolls into Schools to Celebrate Literacy

All Aboard: Reading Bus Tour Rolls into Schools to Celebrate Literacy

Big Y World Class Markets and iHeartRaio join teachers to bring the joy of reading to students

February 24, 2019

Oh, the Places You'll Go... with a love of reading. Beginning the week of February 25, the year's biggest literacy event rolls into six eastern Connecticut towns to bring the joy of reading to hundreds of students.

The Connecticut Education Foundation (CEF), the nonprofit arm of the Connecticut Education Association, is hosting the second annual Read Across America Reading Bus Tour along with sponsors Big Y World Class Markets, iHeartRadio, and the National Education Association. The weeklong literacy event provides a variety of hands-on activities, book bags, school supplies, and free books to more than 1,000 fourth-grade students in Griswold, Groton, Killingly, Norwich, Plainfield, and Voluntown.

Community support

The bus tour will roll through six towns in five days, treating students to guest readers, bookmark crafts, a new book of their choice to take home, a book bag filled with school supplies, and time on the magical blue bus.

"Encouraging children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers," says CEF President and CEA Vice President Tom Nicholas. "The bus tour, now in its second year, is a big hit with students who excitedly climb aboard to hear a story on the schoolbus turned into a mobile library, and, of course, have the opportunity to select a free book to bring home."

Nicholas says research shows that children who spend more time reading do better in school, and for that reason and so many others there is no more important gift than literacy.

"We are proud to work with our teachers across the state to promote the importance of reading, and this year we are excited to have the support of two community sponsors, Big Y World Class Markets and iHeartRadio. Both are dedicated to supporting public schools and understand the importance of literacy and the need to instill a love of reading in our students and get books into their hands."

"Big Y World Class Markets is proud to join CEF in this worthwhile venture that uses fun and excitement to encourage children to read," said Big Y World Class Markets Vice President of Marketing John Schnepp. "We are happy to help promote literacy in the communities we serve and to highlight all the positive work our teachers do for students every day."

"Education is the key to creating our future leaders and we are committed to shining a light on the importance of literacy throughout our state," said Renee DiNino, The River 105.9 on air personality and director of community affairs for iHeartMedia Connecticut. "Working together with our teachers, the Reading Bus Tour provides students with events and activities that promote reading and inspire them to pick up a book."

Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program started by the National Education Association (NEA) that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. The event has been so well received that it has expanded from a one-day celebration into a weeklong reading event with more than 45 million students, parents, and teachers participating in reading parties, community read-ins, activities, character parades, book fairs, and more.

The CEF Reading Bus Tour Schedule

Monday, February 25, at 9:00 a.m., the CEF Reading Bus Tour kicks off the weeklong reading celebration in Norwich. Beginning at 9:00 a.m., special guest readers will read Scaredy Squirrel, by Melanie Watt, to Moriarty Environmental Sciences Magnet Elementary School's third- and fourth-grade students. The Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, and other book characters will make a surprise appearance.

Moriarty Environmental Sciences Magnet School
20 Lawler Lane
Norwich, CT
9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Friday, March 1, after covering more than 100 miles and five eastern Connecticut towns, the CEF Reading Bus Tour will make its final stop in Plainfield at 8:30 a.m. Students at Plainfield Memorial School will celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday with special events and crafts. The theme for the event is "travel the world with reading," and guest readers will read the book The Korean Cinderella, by Shirley Climo.

Plainfield Memorial School
95 Canterbury Road
Plainfield, CT
8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 5, the CEF Reading Bus Tour rolls into Griswold in the morning and Voluntown in the afternoon. From 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., students at Griswold Elementary School will hear the book Nerdy Birdy Tweets, by Aaron Reynolds.

The second stop on Tuesday is at Voluntown Elementary School. Beginning at 1:30 p.m., guest readers will read The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson. The theme for the event is kindness, and the free books the students receive all discuss the theme of kindheartedness and inclusion.

Griswold Elementary School
303 Slater Avenue
Griswold, CT
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Voluntown Elementary School
195 Main Street
Voluntown, CT
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 6, the CEF Reading Bus Tour rolls into Killingly Memorial School, where guest readers will read the Dr. Seuss classic Oh, The Places You'll Go. The theme for the event is "being open to great possibilities."

Killingly Memorial School
339 Main Street
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 7, students at Mary Morrison and Claude Chester Elementary Schools in Groton will welcome the CEF Reading Bus Tour. Beginning at 10:00 a.m., students at Mary Morrison will hear the story The Day You Begin, by Jacqueline Woodson. In the afternoon, the bus rolls into Claude Chester Elementary, where students will hear Junkyard Wonders, by Patricia Polacco.

Mary Morrison Elementary School
154 Tollgate Road
Groton, CT
10 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Claude Chester Elementary School
1 Harry Day Drive
Groton, CT
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

CEF has joined forces with the National Education Association, Big Y World Class Markets, and iHeartRadio to promote the Reading Bus Tour highlighting the importance of reading. The Plainfield Public School System, which owns the bus, has generously provided it for the weeklong event.

For further information, contact Nancy Andrews at 860-725-6317,

The Connecticut Education Association is Connecticut's largest teachers' union, representing active and retired educators across the state.

About iHeartMedia Hartford
iHeartMedia Hartford owns and operates WKSS-FM, WHCN-FM, WWYZ-FM, WUCS-FM, WPOP-AM, and is part of iHeartMedia. iHeartMedia is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month — and with its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. The company's leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms including 850 live broadcast stations; streaming music, radio and on demand via its iHeartRadio digital service available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices including smart speakers, digital auto dashes, tablets, wearables, smartphones, virtual assistants, TVs and gaming consoles; through its influencers; social; branded iconic live music events; and podcasts as the #1 commercial podcast publisher globally. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics and attribution technology for its marketing partners, using data from its massive consumer base. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (PINK: IHRTQ). Visit for more company information.

About Big Y
Big Y Foods, Inc. is one of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England. Big Y operates 82 locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut including 71 supermarkets, 40 pharmacies, Fresh Acres Market, Table & Vine Fine Wines and Liquors and 9 Big Y Express gas and convenience locations with over 11,000 employees. Big Y has been named a 2018 Employer of Choice by the Employers Association of the Northeast. Founded in 1936 by brothers Paul and Gerald D'Amour, the store was named after an intersection in Chicopee, Massachusetts where two roads converge to form a "Y".

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