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‘Read Across America’ day gets community involved

By Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / March 4, 1998

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.”Dr. Seuss probably had no idea that something as wonderfully funny aselementary school children feasting on breakfasts of green eggs and ham in their school cafeterias would ever take place.

But at several schools across the nation, including in St. John the BaptistParish, students gobbled up the green food-colored scrambled eggs Monday morning like there was no tomorrow.

March 2 was named “Read Across America” day in recognition of what would have been Dr. Seuss’ 94th birthday, and area schools did all theycould to encourage students to read not only “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” but other books as well.

The National Educators’ Association is the chief sponsor of the national event. Its main goal for the day is to simply get kids to read a book or tohave one read to them.

“I’ve got millions of them (Dr. Seuss books),” Whitney Millet, a second-grader at John L. Ory Elementary, said. “I’ve been reading them since I wasabout 6 and my mom read them to me before that.”Millet’s favorite Dr. Seuss book is “Green Eggs and Ham,” so she was morethan happy to taste the green eggs and ham that cafeteria workers served up Monday morning at John L. Ory. “It’s just food coloring,” she said.Alexandra Parks, a third-grader at LaPlace Elementary, said that her favorite Dr. Seuss book was “The Cat in the Hat Comes Back,” as she eyedthe green eggs piled on her breakfast tray.

Besides serving green eggs and ham, several other activities were planned at area schools to recognize the day and to encourage children to read.

St. John the Baptist Parish children’s librarian Margaret Carlton visitedJohn L. Ory and animatedly read a couple of books to Joel Baer’s and DawnGuillory’s second grade classes.

Meanwhile, third-graders in Karen Brooks’ class at John L. Ory, viewed aCD-ROM version of “Green Eggs and Ham.” Brooks’ class, along with the rest of the students at John L. Ory, wereencouraged to dress as their favorite storybook characters. Among thecharacters imitated were Cinderella, Prince Charming, Peter Pan, Dorothy and others.

Teachers also placed special emphasis on the importance of DEAR time or “Drop Everything And Read.”At LaPlace Elementary students wrote stories using 50 words or less, like Dr. Seuss did in “Green Eggs and Ham.” They also had buddy and choralreading and even a birthday party with cake and punch in honor of Dr.

Seuss.

Fifth Ward Elementary also had a birthday party for the famous author. Theparty began at 6 p.m. and several community leaders and school boardmembers came out for the occasion to read books to the students who attended.

The day was a huge success in getting books in the hands of students in the River Parishes.

“I think it’s super,” Brooks said. “It’s fun to get the community involvedand let everyone know how important it is. Reading out loud is the singlemost important thing a parent can do.”

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