State Sen. Kevin Kelly read to a seventh-grade class at Shelton Intermediate School (SIS) during the school’s annual Community Read-Aloud Day.

The event coincided with Read Across America Day, the National Education Association’s celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

“It is important to emphasize the value of reading at all ages,” said Kelly, whose multi-town district includes all of Shelton. “Reading is the key to a lifetime of learning.”

Kenneth D. Saranich, SIS headmaster, invited Kelly and other community leaders to read a favorite story, poem or other piece of literature. Kelly selected President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

“I chose this speech because it exemplifies the power of words,” Kelly said. “President Lincoln made many sacrifices so we can enjoy freedom and liberty today. His words are his legacy.”

Made connection to situation in Ukraine

After reading aloud to the students, Kelly connected Lincoln’s famous speech to the current conflict in the Ukraine.

“Lincoln’s words were meant to motivate a divided nation,” he said. “Today’s civil unrest abroad reminds us that history is not so distant. When we face turmoil, we can look to the leaders of our past for inspiration.”

According to Saranich, inviting local leaders to read at this annual event sets a good example for the students.

“Actions speak louder than words, and hearing community leaders read sends a powerful message,” Saranich said.

Kelly also donated a book on Lincoln to the class.