First Lady shares her love of reading

First Lady shares her love of reading First Lady Jean Rounds reads a book to a group of second grade students in the Vermillion High School Library Wednesday afternoon. She accompanied her husband, Gov. Mike Rounds, to take part in Vermillion�s Capital for Day festivities. (Photo by Aaron Packard) By David Lias The last book that First Lady Jean Rounds read to youngsters in Vermillion Wednesday afternoon was so familiar that they couldn�t resist joining in:

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed,

One fell off and bumped his head.

Mama called the Doctor and the Doctor said,

�No more monkeys jumping on the bed!�

Mrs. Rounds kept Vermillion youngsters spellbound with her special �reading times� held in the Vermillion High School Library.

She accompanied her husband, Gov. Mike Rounds, and other state officials to Vermillion to participate in Capital for a Day activities.

�I have four kids of my own, and I realized when they were young how important it is to read to children, and how much they learn and how important reading is,� Mrs. Rounds said. �That�s why I took it on as one of my initiatives.�

It�s no accident Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed is among her selections. The book is so familiar to generations of South Dakotans that her listeners have no trouble reciting it from memory.

�I like the audience participation. I like to get the kids involved, and they all know that one,� Mrs. Rounds said.

The First Lady has discovered that other books strike a chord with youngsters wherever she travels in the state.

�Definitely,� she said. �The one I read earlier, The Giraffe and a Half, it�s a rhyming book and the kids really like that. I have a couple of others for the older children that they really like.�

In her role as First Lady, Mrs. Rounds has traveled to communities across the state. Whenever she has an opportunity, she takes time to gather a group of youngsters and read.

She�s found that she makes the most impact with a younger audience, from pre-school to second grade.

�After that, the kids can read for themselves,� she said. �They aren�t as attentive to someone reading to them. They would rather read for themselves.�

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