Police and Fire departments promote ‘Read Across America Week’

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UNION, NJ — Every year, to honor Dr. Seuss on his birthday, March 2, “National Read Across America Day” is celebrated. During the week of Monday, March 4, through Friday, March 8, the Union Police Department and the Union Fire Department joined forces, once again, with local Union elementary schools to promote “National Read Across America Week.”

“National Read Across America Week” celebrates the importance of learning, reading and literacy. During the week, first responders read to more than 100 students. Sgt. Mike Loguidice said this is the third year the police department is participating. It started in 2020, when schools went back to “in person” after the lock-down during the pandemic.

First responders visit classrooms wearing Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat top hats. They read to the children, from prekindergarten to first grade, and give them a different book to take home and read with their family. This year they are reading “Pete the Cat’s Not So Groovy Day.”

There’s a total of 112 classes with approximately 1,725 students. Schools include the Deron School of New Jersey in Union, which is a private school for children with severe special needs; and Union Township Community Action Organization Inc., a non-profit childcare center.

“It’s very important to build a bond with children at a young age,” said Loguidice. “Do something educational. Reading a book with them is wonderful. We have so many generous sponsors that allow kids to take these books home. The township of Union and police department stand behind this program.”

Continuing, he said, “It’s pretty amazing. The way we organize, we have an officer and a firefighter team up together. One will read while the other is showing the book itself. The looks on their faces are amazing. It’s captivating watching them. It’s an amazing time.”

Last year, Loguidice had a special moment. His wife is a teacher at one of the schools in Union and he was able to read in her classroom and meet with her students. They have two children of their own.

“My 11-year-old likes to read anything she can,” he said. “She started off with ‘Cat in the Hat.’ My son, who is 8, is more into sports things. He just read the ‘Dog Man’ book.”

As a child Loguidice was into comic books, anything from Star Wars to Superman. But nowadays, most of his reading is job-related. “Honestly, most of my reading has to do with keeping up with the educational portions of law enforcement,” he shared. “I like to read war novels.”

The Union Police Department and Union Fire Department have been able to participate in “Read Across America Week” thanks to the following sponsors: Union PDA, Local 69; Union FMBA Local 40; Union Township Education Association; Union County Education Association; VFW Michael A. Kelly Post 2433; Teamsters Local Union 641; IUPAT District Council 21; Da Silva Stone; and Here’s the Story Bookstore.

Photos Courtesy of Shontel Robinson, Staff Services Bureau, Union Police Department