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Senior Intergenerational Readers

* Mission: Showing children that reading is recreational and enjoyable.

Some senior citizens with a little acting experience and a love for literacy read to young students in Los Angeles through the Senior Intergenerational Readers program.

About 35 program participants read at 13 elementary schools every other week. The seniors--ranging in age from 60 to 87--read to students in kindergarten through second grade.

About four years ago, Norton Kirschbaum took an acting class through Los Angeles Unified School District. His acting teacher, Adrienne Omansky, and Kirschbaum, who already had been tutoring students at Camfield Elementary School, decided to launch a reading program at the school.

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Soon, Kirschbaum asked his senior classmates to join in.

The program relies on donations from local bookstores for materials and holds fund-raisers to purchase books.

The seniors say the experience allows them to practice for auditions and helps children appreciate reading.

* Quote: “The majority of the students we read to don’t have grandparents, so we give them a different perspective of age. When I read to them, I get a warm, wonderful feeling because the kids love us.”

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--Anita Hacker, 69, of Los Angeles.


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