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Uniting bus drivers, preschoolers through reading

Rockwood bus driver Monaka Zangaro reads to an enthusiastic preschooler at the Eureka Early Childhood Center.
Rockwood bus driver Monaka Zangaro reads to a student at the Eureka Early Childhood Center
[Rockwood School District photo]

Rockwood School District bus drivers are taking time out of Tuesday mornings to read to preschool students at the Eureka Early Childhood Center.

Beth Dierking, the students’ teacher, said she used to have a similar program when she previously taught preschool at Fairway Elementary where the school’s fifth-graders would come and read to the students. Dierking reached out to bus drivers based at the school’s transportation depot. It wasn’t long before she had a half-dozen volunteers.

The drivers have had two sessions with the students, and Dierking anticipates it being a yearlong relationship. 

“It’s been a wonderful partnership,” Dierking said. “I reminded the students about the first time the bus drivers came and read to us and asked if they liked that, and they all smiled and said, ‘Yes!’ enthusiastically. They have a great time, and I think it’s going to be something they look forward to every week.”

On Oct. 8, drivers David Cox, Ed Martinez, Jessica Miller, Mike South and Monaka Zangaro read to the students. It was the first time for some, while others got the opportunity to further the connection they had established the week prior.

“They get accustomed to you,” South said. “The first week, they were a little more quiet, and this week, a little more outgoing.”

Zangaro added, “When it becomes routine, they get more excited. They look forward to us coming. My little guy likes picking out his books.”

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