Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer
"No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting."
That quote by English aristocrat and writer, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was embodied on Wednesday as members of the entertainment industry read to happy students at the Maverley Primary and Junior High School in St Andrew.
The effort was a part of the Read Across Jamaica initiative.
Among those who participated were Grace 'Spice' Hamilton, Daniel 'Chino' McGregor, Nicole Morrison and Winsome Cousins of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica and Brandon Allwood, chief advocate of the Help Jamaica's Children organisation.
"Once upon a time in India, there was a town called Boring. It was by the side of Dull Lake. The people of Boring never smiled; they did not know how to - whether it was grown-ups or children," read Spice as she began reading the story, A Town Called Boring.
Spice, who loves to read, told Sunday Gleaner Entertainment that as a child, one of her favourite books was Little Red Riding Hood.
She believes that reading plays an integral part in the development of a child.
"When I heard the idea of coming to read for the kids, I jumped to it right away because reading is very important and it says a lot, especially when starting from a tender age growing up into an adult. When you read a lot, it helps very well with your imagination. It involves every aspect of life. If you can't read, you can't have a proper future," shared Spice.
She chose to read this book to teach the "importance of smiling and showing love and that hard work and no play makes jack a dull boy".
Chino read from one of his favourite books, the Bible. He read the story of Cain and Abel.
He believes that as an entertainer, a role model to many of the nation's children, emphasis should be put on the importance of reading and a good education.
After his reading, he had a good experience with the children and looked forward to coming back.
The students were buzzing with excitement upon the news that the two were present at the school. They could be heard uttering various comments as they conversed, some peering through windows to catch a glimpse of the entertainers.
They were met with a loud chorus of "good afternoon" upon entrance to each classroom and as they read in different classes, the students listened intently.
Upon requests from the students, Chino did a performance of From Mawning (Never Change) ... twice. The children sang along.
They hit the desk in rhythmic fashion and clapped to add to his vocals.
Rudolph Thomas, acting vice-principal of the school, appreciated the entertainers' efforts.
"It is a bold venture. I really appreciate it because these students have these artistes as their role models. So once they will see that these people are interested in reading and willing to impart it, then I think that will motivate them to do the same."
Allwood, who was instrumental in organising a recent march and rally in St Andrew which was supported by several entertainers, said he was grateful to have the interaction with the students.
He said, "I'm grateful for the opportunity to interact with children in a meaningful way, and reading is one of those ways. Personally, my belief is that reading opens life's many doors and as a nation, we must encourage recreational reading as a habit for our children and encourage them to read outside of classrooms and school."