October 24, 2014

Man and his animals bring reading to life

Kevin Bunch
Larry Grudt shows a mostly harmless scorpion to children during his “Wild About Reading” program at Arenac Eastern.
Kevin Bunch
Ashley Smart, Arenac Eastern fifth grader, pets a bearded dragon at the end of Grudt’s program.
Kevin Bunch
From left, preschoolers Collin Herzberg, Jack Parker, and Tommy Morely pet a ferret named Edward held by Larry Grudt.
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By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
Posted

TWINING — Students at the Arenac Eastern Elementary School received a lesson in biology and the value of reading when a visitor brought a variety of animals to visit on Monday, March. 5.

Larry Grudt of Lansing, with Dynamic West Assemblies, visited the school, and brought along Madagascar cockroaches, a cane toad, salamanders, tree frogs, a tortoise, a bearded dragon, and even a ferret for the kids to see up close and even pet. All the while, he explained facts about the animals that he learned from books.

“I have degrees in psychology and hospice,” Grudt said. “When I say I learned these facts from books, I mean it.”

Grudt has been performing his show for 30 years, and has crisscrossed Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana with his animals. He uses a lot of humor to keep kids interested, and promises to let them pet some of his wildlife to show how there is nothing gross about them.

Along the way, he highlighted a variety of children’s’ environmental science books that had additional information within their pages. Grudt said his job was far more interesting than his initial career path, and a lot of that has to do with the back-and-forth he can have with his audience.

“It’s unique in that I can come in and talk about what I want to talk about and what the kids want to talk about,” Grudt said. “The discussion is determined by the kids as much as what I want to talk about.”

“Every day is a bit unique,” he added.

He said the group at AE was a great class, who were really interested in the discussion.

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