Sitting elbow to elbow, knee to knee, with books in hand, nearly 300 students filled the hallways at Franklin Elementary School in Stratford today to celebrate Read Across America Day, with their very own Read Across Franklin event.
The first-floor hallways—with bulletin boards colorfully decorated with Horton, Hop on Pop, the Cat in the Hat, and other beloved Dr. Seuss characters—were abuzz with teachers reading to many of the preschool through second-grade students. But just one flight up, you could hear a pin drop as the third- through sixth-grade students lined the hallways silently reading a book of their choosing.
Stewart and reading specialist Jen Liebowitz worked together to plan five days of special events that would ignite curiosity and a love of reading that involved the entire student body.
“We came up with a week’s worth of activities to show the students how much fun reading is and all the activities that they can do that are related to a story,” said Liebowitz.
The Read Across Franklin event was just one of many celebrations of reading held in schools across Connecticut and the country to celebrate the March 2 birthday of beloved children’s author Theodore Geisel, known by readers around the world as Dr. Seuss.
On Monday, Franklin students participated in an activity called Oh, the Places You’ll Read, and voted for their favorite places to relax with a good book. The students colored paper cutout Cat-in-the-Hat hats and placed them on a bulletin board. The end result was a graph showing students like to read in bed best, followed by reading somewhere else, and then outside.
Other activities included wearing their favorite hat to school, reading by a mock campfire set up in the school gym, complete with tents and a fake fire. The students were also excited to wear crazy or mismatched socks and dress up as twins, like Thing One and Thing Two from the Cat in the Hat.
High schools students give back
In Waterbury, nearly 30 Wilby High School students gave their time to be role models to younger students by reading and taking part in fun activities with Bucks Hill Elementary School students. The high school students also assisted the teachers with follow-up activities associated with the books read in the classrooms. Teachers say the event helps strengthen relationships and ties between students and schools.
CEA Vice President Jeff Leake was a special guest reader in Miss Clark’s fifth-grade class at Bucks Hill. Leake, who has participated in numerous Read Across America events through the years, read the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. After reading the story about a young boy named Bartholomew who must rescue his kingdom from a sticky substance called “oobleck,” Leake led a discussion on some of the issues discussed in the book, including our relationship with the environment, taking responsibility, desire, greed, and authority.