Community leaders in Conway took time out of their busy day recently to read to students at Ellen Smith Elementary during a School-Wide Reading Day.

Instructional Facilitator Miriam Taylor said the reading day is an annual event at the school where members of the community are invited to share their love of reading with the students.

"Children in grades [kindergarten through fourth] are immersed in literacy all day, listening to readers from all walks of life," she said.

Both Conway Superintendent Greg Murry and Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry were among the more than 50 readers that came out.

"It is a great day to show students that readers are everywhere, whether they are a lineman from Conway Corp, a softball player from [the University of Central Arkansas], the [president] of [UCA] or the [mayor] of Conway," Taylor said. "It is important that students see a love of reading from individuals throughout the community to connect a passion for reading with a career they may someday choose."

Carolyn Reynolds, a third grade teacher at Ellen Smith, said students were immediately able to make a connection with the readers, which is an aspect that she loves.

"Students in one room were able to hear their pastor read," she said. "When we switched again, they heard a reader who works with one of our students’[s] grandfather[s], one of our students’[s] parents read to them and then finally they heard our librarian[’s] husband read to them and talk about his family."

The reading day has been a tradition at the school since 2000.