Read Across America Celebrates the Joy of Reading

Read Across America will take place at all KTJUSD schools. / TRT file photo.

Jack Norton Elementary Planning a Breakfast of Green Eggs and Ham

By Kay Heitkamp, Two Rivers Tribune

Read Across America is a cross-country campaign started 14 years ago by the National Education Association to promote literacy by encouraging parents to read to their children and help students improve their performance at school. The theme of this year’s Read Across America is ‘Serve Up a Good Book.’ and is being sponsored by the California Teachers Association (CTA).

The concept of parents, children, teachers, business, and community members reading together has grown over the years. CTA and local teachers’ associations have planned reading events in schools and communities throughout California on Wednesday, March 2.

Activities during the 2011 event that connect reading with cooking will include breakfast read-ins, book drives, and even chili cook offs. Coincidentally, March 2 marks the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

The CTA suggests community members get involved with reading by volunteering to read to a classroom, having older students read to younger students, or collecting books and donating them to a school or community library.

Another way to get involved is to invite ‘newsmakers’ to participate in Read Across America activities at local area schools. Inviting local athletes, firefighters, or members of the news media to visit schools and read to students is a fun way to attract attention to the importance of reading and to inspire children to want to learn more through reading about their guests. Students can even write their own stories or conduct live interviews with their guests to share with other schools.

Some teachers schedule reading events in which the reader dresses up as a character in a book or acts out part of a good story. Adding visual excitement to the reading experience is often a great way to get and hold the attention of a classroom audience.

CTA recommends that the ideal time to begin sharing books with children is when they are infants. Making a variety of books available, reading and talking about the books, even improvising new endings to stories or creating other stories based on a book, are good ways to stimulate the imaginations of young readers.

Through reading, children learn about the world around them – locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Reading increases vocabulary and language skills in a way that’s fun to do. Sharing reading experiences increases the joys of discovery. Reading is a win-win for everyone.

Mary Raigosa and Patti Gibbens at Jack Norton Elementary School have been working together to plan their school’s celebration of Read Across America. The six-hour day will begin with a breakfast of green eggs and ham which students will enjoy while Gibbens reads the Dr. Seuss book, “Green Eggs and Ham.”

This will be followed by a buddy-reading event during which students from the upper grades will read Dr. Seuss books to students from the lower grades or vice versa.

A series of play stations will be set up for children to wander from place to place putting together big Dr. Seuss puzzles or playing huge board games with some of the well-loved characters from Dr. Seuss books. Art activities will include drawing posters to promote reading which will be on display in the school after the event. At the end of the day, students will receive a Dr. Seuss book.

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