WRADvocate Profile: Rocco Staino

Rocco reading at our official World Read Aloud Day event in Times Square last year!

We are excited to have Rocco Staino on board as our WRADvocate in New York! Rocco Staino is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York, and is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.

A long time member of the American Library Association, he most recently was chair of the Public Awareness Committee. He is a past president of the New York Library Association, and is currently chair of the Empire State Center for the Book which administers the NYS Writers Hall of Fame and state book festival. He also was the longtime chair of the Books for Kids Foundation and was instrumental in declaring Literary Landmarks for such famed children’s literature legends as Margaret Wise Brown, Ludwig Belemans, Eloise & the Little Red Lighthouse.

As you can see, Rocco is the perfect person to advocate for World Read Aloud Day. Read more about him below:

1. Can you share some of your earliest memories of reading and how they impacted you?

Believe it or not, my earliest reading memory is related to television. Long before Sesame Street & Reading Rainbow, there was a children’s television program called Captain Kanagaroo. The program featured a segment where the Captain (Bob Keeshan) read stories to his young viewers. That is where I was introduced to stories such as Curious George, Make Way for Ducklings, and Mike Mulligan and his Steam
Shovel. It was this exposure that encouraged me to visit my branch of the Brooklyn Public Library to checkout the book the Captain read to me.

2. How has what you've read influenced you professionally?

Having had a career as a school librarian, it is obvious that reading and sharing what I read was an important part of my professional life. When working with younger children, it was fun to expose them to classic children’s book as well as new books that may one day be classics. With older children and teens, it was a challenge to keep the interest in reading alive but there was always a book for every kid.

3. What advice would you give to teachers, parents and caregivers who want to reach their struggling readers?

This may sound like blasphemy, but use technology. Ebook, mobile devices and book apps are ways to reach reluctant or struggling readers. It doesn’t have to be a traditional book as long as they are reading.

4. What do you think the future holds for readers?

Reading and readers will always be with us. The way we read and what we read is changing. Graphic novels, interactive books and hand-held devices are joining traditional books. All enrich the reading experience.

5. What do you think is most essential for teachers, parents and caregivers to do in order to nurture a child to become a lifelong reader?

Be a role model for the young people with whom you are involved. Reading, reading aloud, sharing books and discussing books with young and old alike just helps to cultivate a reading culture.

To find out more about Rocco, you can find him blogging at Huffington Post and at School Library Journal, and tweeting on Twitter at @roccoa.