(Crystal A. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, April 1, 2012 ed.)
Judy Smith’s third grade class got a special visit vis Skype on March 22, 2012. Corey Reynolds, who plays Sgt. David Gabriel in the TNT Series The Closer, did his part to help encourage reading by introducing the youngsters to the Choose Your Own Adventure series.
The books give readers a chance to make choices for the characters, and each decision takes the story down a different path. Reynolds read one called The Cave of Time. “He picked that because he knew the children would have to interact,” said Michelle Beveridge.
Beveridge’s son Collin is a student in Smith’s class. Each year Roosevelt holds a Reading Day where celebrity guests come in and read to kids. “This is my son’s last year doing Reading Day, which makes me a little sad because I know how much the kids like it. It gets them so excited about reading. So since it’s his last year I wanted it to be extra special. When they asked parents to think of who they knew for celebrity readers, I racked my brain and contacted everyone I could think of.”
Beveridge knew Reynold’s wife Tara long before she met the famous actor. “She was an attorney at the law firm where I worked. She met Corey when he was visiting Detroit and they used to fly back and forth to see each other before she moved out to California.”
Because they live so far away, Reynolds suggested doing the reading via Skype. According to Beveridge, fellow parents Bradford Parks and Darcey McLaughlin stepped up, providing the I Pad and the technological experience to make the video conference with the kids happen.
“Mrs. Smith held it up for the class and the kids kept getting closer and closer as they got into it,” Beveridge said. She also said Reynolds got so revved up over reading that when he got off the phone he ordered enough Choose Your Own Adventure books for everyone in the class, and is considering doing more to connect celebrities with youngsters to encourage literacy.
It was a wonderful experience for all of us! I am so thankful to Michelle Beveridge for setting up this long distance adventure, and to all the tech wizards who really never stopped until we were sure we could make it happen,” said Smith.
Reynold’s is an accomplished actor who has starred on Broadway in “Hairspray,” and was in The Terminal and Red Tails (read more about local Red Tails connections here). The students watched clips of Reynold’s before their Skype session.
In addition to arranging Reynold’s reading, Beveridge also got Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly to come in on March 16, which was official Reading Day. “She came in with her Judge’s robe and she got such a kick out of it,” Beveridge said. Read more about Reading Day at …..