Thu, July 18

Dr. Suess' birthday devoted to reading<br><i>Read Across America draws community into schools</i>

VVN/Philip Wright

Dr. Suess' Birthday drew kids at Tavasci Elementary School into the gymnasium for a special assembly as part of Read Across America Day. During the assembly, teachers put on skits acting out their favorite children's books.

Tavasci joined many members of the community, including the Mingus Union High School softball team, who volunteered to read to students during Read Across America Day, which coincides with Dr. Suess' birthday.

Each year, community members are invited into the elementary classrooms in the district to read to students.

At Tavasci Elementary, some students wore their pajamas to school, and teachers dressed in costumes and Dr. Suess hats. After a morning filled with guest readers visiting all of the school's classrooms, teachers presented skits of their favorite children's books during a storytelling assembly.

Shelly Zale, Title One reading teacher for the school, coordinated the event. She said the district has been celebrating Read Across America and Dr. Suess' birthday for about five years. "It's been a national event for about eight years," she said.

Zale said the kids love the reading day. "Our attendance is great on Read Across America Day," she said. "It's a great way to get kids interested in reading."

That interest shows up during the days after the reading event. "You notice those books the kids liked being checked out of the library," Zale said.

Read Across America was started by the National Education Association in 1988 as a way to get kids excited about reading. It is now considered the nation's biggest reading event.

"It's an event everybody looks forward to each year in the school and the community," Zale said.

Zale believes that reading is the most important subject in elementary school. "If students are successful in reading, they tend to be successful in other things," she said.

"Read Across America is all about teaching kids about the positive inspiration that reading provides," Zale said.

She said the day also has other positive aspects. "It's a great way to get the community into the school's classrooms," she said.