Cat in the Hat at Hillcrest

Read Across America week celebrated with Dr. Seuss theme

BROOKINGS – The weeklong Read Across America program from the National Education Association is mostly left for elementary students to enjoy, though it is open to those K-12.

It’s long been a part of school life at Brookings, with the goal of promoting reading and literacy. Read Across America also helps celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2) by encouraging students to take the time to enjoy a good read.

To that end, elementary classrooms decorated their doors in a Dr. Seuss theme, and guest readers come in to read to the students this week. This year, guest readers mostly consist of parents of school children volunteering to read their favorite children’s books.

“Every year, we pick a different group, and the reason it’s important is to show that if you’re a lifelong reader and can read in any setting and at any type of job or career,” said Pam Carlson, a third-grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary.

Even with all the niceties of technology, kids still can be captivated by a book and look forward to reading, Carlson said. “If I don’t read aloud every day, they’re asking why I didn’t read today.”

Each of the elementary schools had its own fun dress up day, such as PJ Day on Monday (with “Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book” in mind) and Sock Day on Thursday, when students wore crazy and mismatched socks (celebrating “Fox in Socks”) at Hillcrest Elementary.

Each school has its own set of activities lined up. At Dakota Prairie, reading was awarded this week by having reading time translated into a winding path through the school’s hallways. When a teacher reads to students for 10 minutes or a student reads independently for 10 minutes, the teacher writes their class name down on a paper in the shape of an open book to be placed on the hallway wall as part of a colorful display of their reading efforts.

“Our goal is to read across Dakota Prairie because it’s Read Across America. So we’re going to see how far we can get down the hallway,” second-grade teacher Julie LeFebvre said.

This all led up to a visit from the official Cat in the Hat on Friday, a special treat won by Carlson at the South Dakota Education Association Convention last year.


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