`Big Fish' Gives Program a Read

By Robert Goodrich Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 23, 1995 | Go to article overview

`Big Fish' Gives Program a Read


Robert Goodrich Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


First-graders at Belle Valley School North in Belleville listened intently as Joseph Spagnolo, state school superintendent, read to them about Norvan, the boy who scared everyone out of the water in "The Great White Man-Eating Shark."

In town for a regional school administrators meeting, Spagnolo agreed to participate in the Belle Valley District's Celebrity Reading Program.

District Superintendent William H. Phillips said previous readers have included local celebrities like Mayor Roger C. Cook and Police Chief David Brauer.

Spagnolo questioned the first-graders about their curriculum before starting to read to them last week.

"What's going on here?" he asked.

Pupils informed him they were deep into math concepts such as "minuses," "place value" and "doubles."

"Doubles?" he inquired.

"Like 2, 4, 6, 8 - up to 18," one student quickly informed him.

They had also learned to count by 10s, another said.

Spagnolo asked the group to demonstrate. They quickly obliged.

"Tell me why you like math," Spagnolo urged.

"Because it shows you how to move money," replied one girl.

To emphasize the importance of reading for all ages, Spagnolo told the pupils it was a key skill for his 29-year-old daughter. …

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