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Read Across America at J.W. Oakley

March 03, 2002|By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Arguably more fun than his day job, county Supervising Deputy Coroner Rick Macken was hard at work Friday morning reading to third-graders at J.W. Oakley Elementary School in Brawley.

The coroner's official was clearly enjoying the task at hand and taking a break between reading sessions.

"I think adults have the obligation to instill the fun part of reading and the enjoyment of reading, in kids," Macken said.

Macken and other community members were there to help celebrate Oakley's Literacy Day as part of the national Read Across America campaign organized by the National Education Association.

With a room full of third-graders at his knee, Macken soon had them giggling and laughing as he read "The Brand New Kid" by Katie Couric.


Nine-year-old Shannon Camacho sat cross-legged, avidly following Macken's every word as he read. Later she announced emphatically that she "liked the ending best. It was good."

Sitting close by Camacho, Alan Lizarraga, also 9, said, "I like the bit where the boy was skateboarding."

Smiling at the sight of the children giving their undivided attention to Macken, third grade teacher Gail Zeigler said she felt it was "important for kids to hear other people as readers — people from the real world. It gives the kids the idea that other people are readers, too, not just their teachers or their parents."

>> Staff Writer Jennifer Ralton-Smith can be reached at 337-3442 or

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