March 10, 2014. Reading is always an important part of school, but it’s never more popular or more celebrated than during “Read Across America Day.”
March 3 was the official Read Across America Day for 2014, but a day is not enough for many schools, and some choose to celebrate it all week. However long it lasts, “it’s a fun time to be a media specialist!” said Mitzi London, who fills that role at Bethel Elementary. “On Monday, we performed a reader’s theater of The Lorax, entertained ASU student athlete guest readers, created some Truffula tree art and had a fishing expedition. Coach (Burl) Greene joined in and created activity centers where our K-3 students could Hop On Pop, serve a little Green Eggs and Ham, play Cat in the Hat, and have fun with other games based on the books of Dr. Seuss.”
While the many works of Dr. Seuss are often the center of attention for Read Across America, his books are not the sole resource for the celebrations. The event is also marked by readings from more serious and more challenging books for older students.
Each school puts its own twist on celebrating Read Across America – Parkway’s celebration includes a parade through the school, for example – but guest readers for classrooms are a featured part of the event at nearly every school. “Students love to have someone new in the classroom,” remarked one teacher, “and the guest readers enjoy their time with the students as well.”
Guest readers in the Watauga County Schools include elected officials, many student athletes from ASU, community volunteers, personnel from the central office of the Watauga County Schools, and a wide variety of others with a passion for reading and a commitment to education. Of course these days the readers don’t always have to be there in person: schools can use Skype and similar technology to host readers from across the country, including authors reading from their own works.
Originated by the National Education Association in 1998, Read Across America has since gained the support and participation of dozens of organizations and millions of students, teachers, and parents. The event is usually celebrated on the March 2nd birthday of Dr. Seuss but is moved to an adjacent day when, as happened this year, March 2nd falls on a weekend.