ROCHESTER — She may be a TV celebrity, but it was books that Rebecca Leclair promoted during a “Day of Reading” at St. John the Evangelist School on Humboldt Street Nov.10.
Leclair, a parishioner at St. John of Rochester in Faiport, is a reporter/anchor for WHEC-10, the local NBC affiliate. She was one of several local celebrities who read to children at St. John’s that day. Leclair said she had volunteered to read before at a school, and noted she enjoyed reading and talking to the children in Mary Ellen Lissow’s second-grade class.
“I love this!” she said, adding she likes to watch the children’s faces as she read to them. “They’re just little sponges absorbing it.”
After being introduced to the class, Leclair explained to the children what she did.
“Sometimes I have to give bad news, sometimes I have to give good news,” she said.
The students responded with a collective “Yeah!” when she asked if they watch the news to see if they’re going to get a snow day off from school. In fact, a number of the children confirmed in individual interviews later that looking for snow days was a primary motivation for tracking current events on TV.
Leclair then read two stories to the children, including Enemy Pie, written by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King. The story revolves around a boy who’s having a great summer until another boy, Jeremy, moves into the neighborhood and becomes his enemy after laughing at him when he strikes out playing baseball. Jeremy also doesn’t invite the boy to his trampoline party.
After the boy places Jeremy on his enemy list, the boy’s father suggests he retaliate against Jeremy by baking him “enemy pie.” So the boy invites Jeremy over to eat the reputedly dangerous dish, but then the boy notices that both his father and Jeremy are having no trouble eating the enemy pie. The boys eventually drop their dispute, become friends and bond over such activities as throwing water balloons at girls and playing games.
The students astutely observed that the boy’s father “lied” to him by telling to bake a pie that turned out to be anything but dangerous, but Leclair challenged the children to think a little more deeply.
“It’s tricky how parents can say certain things to lead us in a certain way,” she said.
After Leclair read to the children, they shared their views of the story, and it was pretty clear they understood the moral of Enemy Pie. Zoe Hammonds noted that “you could make up with someone if you spent time with them.” Branwyn Wilkinson added that the story taught her not to prejudge anyone.
“Before you decide how someone is, get to know them,” she said.