The National Education Association’s “Read Across America Week” kicked off Monday in honor of Theodor “Seuss” Geisel’s — most commonly known as Dr. Seuss — 110th birthday, which was Sunday.
Geisel was born March 2, 1904, and has captured the hearts and minds of readers everywhere with his stories.
A number of schools nationwide celebrated the 17th annual Read Across America Day Monday in a variety of ways.
Local elementary schools are participating this week with a different event every day, including hat day, wacky Wednesday, crazy socks day and more.
Students at West Jasper Elementary School enjoyed guest readers throughout the day Monday. Two guest readers who volunteered to read to Kalah Morrow’s third-grade class were Walker High School’s Willie Moore and retired Jasper City Schools teacher Emily Byars.
“Dr. Seuss is a very well-known author who gets students involved and makes them think,” Moore said. “There are different acronyms and things that he uses to pull the readers into [the books] and keeps their attention throughout the stories.”
Byars, dressed from head to toe as the Cat in the Hat, entertained the students Monday morning by reading to them Seuss’ book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Byars said she chose that particular book because “there are many decisions that children can make.”
“I love third grade because this book tells you that there are all kinds of things that are waiting for them in life, and they have to make really good decisions,” she continued. “It’s important for children to know at a very early age that the decisions they make count for a lifetime, and they can always start over. There’s always another chance, because I believe in second chances.”
The NEA’s Read Across America Day takes place annually to encourage reading among the younger generation.
The week is crammed full with guest speakers and readers throughout the community, along with silly activities and games that fit into the schools’ reading curriculum and make learning and reading more fun for all.
West Jasper Elementary principal Rita Pilling delighted in having the guest readers visit her school Monday.
“We are kicking off Dr. Seuss’ birthday week by inviting a lot of our community members in to read to students. We feel like our community sets a positive example for students,” Pilling said. “Seeing role models in our community is always inspirational for our students, and we appreciate them coming in. This week kicks off a big reading contest that we have going with the students, so it’s just an emphasis on reading and reaching goals.”