Sawyer Fredericks among World Read Aloud Day guests at Fonda-Fultonville school

Students at Fonda-Fultonville Middle School listen to Sawyer Fredericks perform one of his songs on Friday. The singer was a surprise guest for the students as part of World Read Aloud Day. Fredericks first read his songs alound and then performed them for the students. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O’Hara)

FONDA — Fonda-Fultonville fifth grade students spent the day celebrating reading on Friday by participating in World Read Aloud Day.

Throughout the day, guests came to read aloud to the students. Guests including the F-F high school students, Montgomery County Dairy Princes, Montgomery County Sheriff Jeff Smith, author Dana Middleton who Skyped with the students and Sawyer

as a surprise guest.

“We read aloud to our kids every day and we thought it would be nice for them to hear some different voices and Sawyer’s voice was a really good one to hear,” said Tamara Berberich, special education teacher.

She said World Read Aloud Day is a worldwide day to celebrate reading, and to promote literacy and reading out loud for kids.

“We know a lot of kids don’t get read to at home and research has actually shown that reading aloud to kids, even into adolescents, is affective,” Berberich said.

Fifth grade teacher Ann Mahon said at their age, people often forget to read aloud to them. She said at ages between six and eight reading out loud gets dropped off.

“People forget as kids grow up they need to have people to read aloud to them,” Mahon said. “We’ve got a big 40-books-for-the-year reading challenge for them. Literacy is our primary goal and anyway we can encourage our kids and support our kids’ literacy and get them excited about reading words and hearing books, we’re going to do it.”

Mahon said they wanted to add a “twist” of having Fredericks read some of his lyrics as a story to the students and then share his songs as well.

They also showed one of his videos of him singing on “The Voice” and were able to connect that to the current book they are reading — “A Dog’s Way Home.”

“I think one of the important things is reading and the fact of the matter is when we talked about reading a book verses reading something else we thought [Sawyer’s] lyrics could be something really powerful. They’re telling a story, kind of like a poem would,” Mahon said. “So we thought that would be a neat twist on things and Sawyer really liked that idea to be able to talk about his lyrics, share his lyrics as story and then share his song as well.”

Fredericks read and sang three of the songs he wrote which were “The One Thing,” “Moving the Sky” and “Should Have Known Better.”

He said he likes playing locally and enjoys singing songs for kids.

One of the things growing up is I always draw from other stories that I heard so I can write my own,” Fredericks said.

“I picked the first two mostly because I wanted to show the songs that I wrote around their age. ‘The One Thing’ I wrote when I was 12 years old and ‘Moving the Sky’ I wrote when I was 13,” Fredericks said.

He said he sang “Should Have Known Better” because he wanted to show a song that he had written recently.

“I really enjoy reading and I hope they enjoy what they want to do,” Fredericks said.

By Josh Bovee

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