For more than 17 years, Dr. Seuss’ birthday has been celebrated in schools across the country.
Williams Ledger Elementary School joined that tradition Monday with its first Read Across America Day in honor of the character’s contribution to children’s reading.
“He’s a national icon because of all those books he’s in, like ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’” said Kerstin Stevens, the program’s coordinator. “It was so cool this morning when at 8 a.m. the entire school stopped what they were doing and read for 30 minutes. It was so quiet.”
Students from different grades visited the cafeteria or library throughout the day as teachers read aloud to them for half an hour.
“It’s pretty cool and I’m enjoying it so far,” said Philip Kerzee, a third-grader. “But my all-time favorite reading is the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, that’s awesome. I’m really looking forward to sliming Principal Dotson, too.”
Kerzee said the south and north sides of the school are in a weeklong competition to see who can read 1,000 books first. The winner will get to see the principal get slimed.
“Anything that provides a love of reading is good for kids,” said Cindy Hutcherson, Copperas Cove Independent School District director of academic services and former teacher. “Books with good plot sequence, style and characters keep them interested.”
She chose author Jon Scieszka’s books because they all have a twist to them and are told in a new light.
First she read “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” because it’s told from the perspective of the wolf, and then she read “The Frog Prince Continued.”
“The Frog Prince is what really happens after happily ever after and it’s like an extension of the original,” said Stevens. “We choose books that build and build because it keeps kids engaged.”
“I like to always leave them wanting to go find another book by an author,” Hutcherson said. “Books should leave a little hook to get them reading more. I also believe its how you read to them that makes the difference.”