03/02/11 — Reading for the record

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Reading for the record

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 2, 2011 1:46 PM

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Spring Creek Elementary School was in full dress as all kinds of characters from children's books this morning in honor of Read Across America. Spring Creek was trying to break the Guinness Book of World Records for most students dressed as their favorite storybook characters. Harry Potter look-alike and first-grade teacher Keith Coleman helps out little alligator Zoe Barfield.

"The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

In the inimitable words of Dr. Seuss, reading is the ticket to a brighter, more successful future.

It has also become a call to arms of sorts, as educators and parents promote good reading habits and encourage children to pick up a book.

Thirteen years ago, in 1998 the National Education Association introduced "Read Across America" events to motivate students of all ages to make it a habit.

Today is the birthday of Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, and is designated "Read Across America Day," as schools, libraries and community agencies across the country mark the occasion.

Schools across Wayne County are celebrating the occasion in a variety of ways.Spring Creek Elementary School is trying to use the opportunity to break a Guinness World record, said teacher Jennifer Cooper.

"We're having everybody dress up like storybook characters," she said. "We have to have more than 300 people. A school in England had 300. We have almost 1,000 students at our school. I know we can do this."

The national challenge is being sponsored by Carson-Delosa Publishing, offering the winning school $1,000 in materials and the opportunity to have the accomplishment published in the next edition of the Book of Guinness World Records.

Spring Creek High School will also participate in the reading effort on Friday, when high schoolers will visit the elementary classrooms to read to students.

Rosewood Elementary plans to participate in a reading challenge, "RWE Reads Week."

Students and staff were challenged to read 30 minutes each day, with the school-wide goal to read 150,000 minutes during the week.

The school also held a Read-a-Thon on Tuesday, with participants reading throughout the day. On Friday, students and staff will dress as their favorite book character.

First-grade classes at Northeast Elementary School are reading Dr. Seuss stories, with students visiting various classes to hear different stories. Each classroom will have a corresponding activity to incorporate curriculum content -- including making Cat in the Hat hats, eating green eggs and ham and doing graphs of colored goldfish, in line with the book "Red Fish, Blue Fish."

North Drive Elementary School will hold a book fair and students can participate in a Dr. Seuss trivia contest, a wall decorating contest and a character parade. A "prize patrol" will also circulate through the school to award prizes to students caught reading silently. Students who read 50 books by Friday will also receive an added incentive.

The Tuesday night PTA meeting at Meadow Lane Elementary School became a celebration that featured readings from Dr. Seuss books, a coloring contest and prizes. The multi-age class also made Cat in the Hat hats to wear, voted on their favorite book by the author and made graphics of the results of the vote.

Greenwood Middle School invited several guest readers to visit the school today, as the school hosted its first "Red, White and Read" day, said Amy Schaefer, sixth-grade language arts and social studies teacher.

"We will have guest readers throughout the day visiting classes, staff members from our school and volunteer readers from central office, and reading to student Dr. Seuss books or other favorite children's literature short stories," she said.

At Eastern Wayne Elementary School, grades K-2 were given the opportunity to bring their favorite book to school and dress as a character from that book. Weather permitting, students will be allowed to go outside, sit on a beach towel and read.

Leading up to the event, students in grades 3-5 at the school studied the musical, "Seussical," which incorporates social studies, reading, singing, dancing and theater.

Brogden Primary and Carver Elementary schools also held events where students and teachers were allowed to dress up as a favorite book character.

In addition, Carver held various activities, including Dr. Seuss birthday parties and a "Read-a-Thon," and created a decorate display in its media center, made up of student artwork, posters and stuffed animals.

The annual event has become very popular for students and educators alike, and is one they look forward to every year, officials said.

"Effective reading skills are an important factor in student achievement," said Olivia Pierce, executive director for information and technology services. "'Read Across America' offers a wonderful opportunity for schools to emphasize the importance of reading, as well as help students develop a lifelong passion for books."