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Belle of the ball

October 01, 2005|By: Sarah Hill

Clad in her staple blue dress and white apron, Belle from "Beauty and

the Beast" read from Disney's Princess Collection book to attentive

Franklin Elementary School students on the lawn at Walt Disney

Studios in Burbank Wednesday.

Three second-grade classes from the Glendale school were invited

to the studio to participate in the Disney Reading Together lunchtime

event held to raise awareness about Disney's learning initiative

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programs.

Volunteers from Disney's VoluntEARS program spent time reading to

small groups of students.

"Reading is one of the most fulfilling and important things all of

us can do," said Karen Kreider, who sat reading the book adaptation

of "Aladdin" to three students.

Kreider, who manages the company's catalog and shopping website,

said working with elementary school students is important because it

helps them form good reading habits for life.

"In second grade, it's the key to getting them interested in a

life-long love of reading and learning," she said.

Students also watched volunteers and their teachers compete in a

speed reading competition.

"They were talking fast, it was funny," said 7-year-old Diego

Avila.

Diego believed focusing on reading is important because it helps

him and his fellow students perform better in other areas of their

learning.

"It makes me happy because when I read, I can write better," Diego

said.

Imani Mitchell, 7, enjoyed attending the event because she likes

to read and be around books.

"It's fun because I love to read and I love to look at books,"

Imani said. "I read every day and every night. It helps you learn."

The Walt Disney Co. currently works with several local schools in

Burbank, Glendale and North Hollywood by sending volunteers for

one-on-one reading tutoring with students.

Franklin Elementary School teacher Steve Williams, whose class

attending the event, said that when volunteers from the community

spend time reading with the children it emphasizes how important

reading is.

When volunteers from the community spend time reading with the

children, it emphasizes how important reading is, Williams said.

"They're seeing adults in the outside community taking time and

doing this for them," he said. "It's making real life connections

with adults they consider role models, seeing people taking time out

of their day to spend time with them."

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