OCEANSIDE, Calif., -- Marines from Camp Pendleton took time off from their regular duties to
volunteer for a very important mission: reading to local school children, Nov 15th.
Marines from several units aboard the base read storybooks and answered
questions from students in kindergarten through 4th grade at Bonsall West Elementary
School in Oceanside, Calif.
Cpl. Wayne Jondle, Marine Air Ground Task Force planner, command element,
11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, read Mapping Penny's World to Dana Bonwell's third
Jondle, who is from San Francisco, said reading to the children was a good way
to give back to the community. "It's good to get out there and do something other than
training and operations," he said.
This is the second year the Marines have gone to the school to read to the
children. Bonwell said the book readings have been a positive experience for the
students as well. "The students enjoy it. It makes the task of reading more authentic.
They see how reading is used in the real world," she said.
Eight-year-old third grader Brandon Rufrano, who said he wants to be a Marine
someday, said he enjoyed the books the Marines picked and the uniforms the Marines
wore. "I think it's really cool and educating," he said.
Lance Cpl. Isaac O'Neil, an 11th MEU command element data networks
specialist from Horton, Kansas, said he likes these types of events because it shows the
kids that the Marines they see on television are real. According to O'Neil, seeing the
smiles on the children's faces was his favorite part of reading to the students. "To the kids, we're the equivalent of movie stars."
Rufrano's third grade teacher, Ms. Colleen Casey, agreed with O'Neil. Casey
said the experience was good for the students. "I think it's great. The students can put
a name with a face," she said.
According to Mishell Rose, school librarian, for many kids reading is hard and
many students could use a little motivation. Rose said bringing in professionals shows
children the importance of learning how to read and how reading relates to employment.
Rose also said she invites the Marines to show the students that Marines don't
just go to war. "I want the children to see that Marines aren't just fighting in Iraq."
Rose also said the Marines should realize just how important their efforts are.
The message to the children was that having some enthusiasm can help them get
through some of the harder parts of reading.
Rose said the interaction between the students and the Marines gives the
kids a sense of pride and an emotional investment in learning how to read. "They may
have planted a seed in a child that says when it gets tough it's worth it to see things