“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child. You’re never too busy, too cool, or too hot, to pick up a book and share what you’ve got.”
This excerpt from the official Read Across America Day poem from the National Education Association (NEA), described events that took place this week all across the county, in schools, libraries, museums and individual homes.
March 1 was Read Across America Day, and Dr. Seuss’ birthday is today. The NEA launched Read Across America Day 16 years ago. An NEA reading task force came up with the idea and paired it with Dr. Seuss’ birthday, which created many opportunities for kids of all ages, as well as adults, to celebrate reading and the birthday of one of the most famous children’s book authors.
Celebration at the Mount Airy Public Library
Dr. Seuss, who was born Theodore Geisel, wrote whimsical children’s books that are loved by most everyone, according to Angela Llewellyn of the Mount Airy Public Library, who dressed as The Cat in the Hat for yesterday’s library celebration. Dr. Seuss would have been 109 years old this year.
This is the fifth year the Mount Airy Public Library celebrated Read Across America Day, and yesterday’s celebration was attended by around 18 children, along with friends and family members. Several children were wearing Dr. Seuss hats they created and others were dressed in Dr. Seuss apparel and homemade shirts.
The event began at 10 a.m. with Llewellyn dressed as the Cat in the Hat and reading Dr. Seuss stories to the children. The room was colorfully decorated with Dr. Seuss decorations and a table contained a large selection of his books, most of which were checked out by the kids at the end of the event. There was also a table with Dr. Seuss worksheets and coloring pages, as well as free Dr. Seuss “I Love Reading” stickers and bookmarks.
Llewellyn read “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” among other Dr. Seuss books. She made the stories come alive for the children with her enthusiastic reading and lively commentary and questions. At one point, while showing the children a picture of a special Dr. Seuss cleaning machine with multiple arms, Llewellyn asked the children, “Would you like to have something like this to clean your house?” A young girl answered, “I wish I had one so I could clean my room very fast and then go to the library!”
A variety of refreshments, donated by the Mount Airy Junior Woman’s Club, were served after story time, as well as a Dr. Seuss-themed cake, donated by Walmart. Llewellyn led the children in singing “Happy Birthday” for Dr. Seuss, then served the cake and read another book while they enjoyed their refreshments.
At the end of the celebration, several children named their favorite Dr. Seuss books:
• Nathan Dowell, age 7: “Go Dog Go”
• Kyson Jenkins, age 5: “10 Apples up on Top”
• Anna Dowell, age 5: “Oh Say Can You Say Dinosaur”
• Jacob Clough, age 10: “Green Eggs and Ham”
• Gabby Vargas, age 4: “Hop on Pop”
• Faye Vargas, age 1: “Maybe You Should Fly a Jet”
Local schools celebrate Read Across America Day
Dobson Elementary School held a special Book Fair on Thursday, which is similar to a science fair. Students created displays about books and presented them during the book fair.
All elementary schools in the Surry County School district held special celebrations for Read Across America Day.
Mount Airy City Schools’ Tharrington Primary held Read Across America Day throughout the school yesterday. Special guests were scheduled to read to the children, including Brack Llewellyn and Mount Airy City Manager Barbara Jones.
In Andrea Creech’s kindergarten classroom, Inglis Rowe read to the students, who were all wearing special hats. Later in the day, Creech said the children would enjoy a Dr. Seuss cake.
Susan Bond’s first-grade class was visited by a special guest, Bond’s sister Barbara Jones, city manager of Mount Airy, along with her husband. Jones answered questions from the children about the job of a city manager before reading a Dr. Seuss book.
According to the National Education Foundation’s Read Across America website, more than 3.2 million teachers in this country along with parents and college-level education students, participate in the event each year. The NEA also provides year-round free resources for parents and teachers, in an effort to encourage reading 365 days each year.
“In schools and communities, let’s gather around, let’s pick up a book, let’s pass it around. There are kids all around you, kids who will need someone to hug, someone to read.”
Reach Jessica Johnson at email@example.com or at 719-1933.