Silliness sparks good reading skills

Local schools mark Read Across America this week

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Hope Whitley says reading is the basis for everything children are going to do.

Whitley, a reading instruction teaching support teacher at Stantonsburg Elementary School, said reading is going to help students at each stage of their life.

“They will have to know how to read in order to be successful at anything they want to do,” Whitley said.

This week was one of the most important weeks for reading in all of education when Read Across America was held in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel, more widely known as Dr. Seuss, author of a popular series of children’s books.

“They are perfect; first, to get kids excited about reading because they are silly and funny,” Whitley said. “They also include tons of rhyming words that help build students’ phonemic awareness. It also helps them confident with their reading.”

Whitley said that children love the books.

“The most important thing about them at this age is getting students to love reading, and that’s what Dr. Seuss does,” Whitley said. “Read Across America is a special week where we celebrate Dr. Seuss and we celebrate his birthday on March 2. We celebrate the whole week just to get kids rejuvenated in their excitement about reading and then it also helps to just bring awareness to the importance of reading.”

Stantonsburg Elementary, as well as other elementary schools in Wilson County, celebrated with a themed spirit week.

Monday was “Fox in Socks,” so students wore silly socks. Tuesday was “One Fish, Two Fish,” so they wore red or blue shirts. Wednesday was Wacky Wednesday so they wore wacky clothes. Thursday was “Oh, All the Places You’ll Go!” so students wore clothes representing their favorite college where they hope to go some day. On Friday, it was “Cat in the Hat” day so they donned silly hats to help build enthusiasm.

Each day the school featured a different Dr. Seuss book.

Kids dressed up in different fun costumes to represent the book for that day, and then on Friday guest readers from the community were brought in to read to the students.

“I think it sparks an excitement for reading,” said Principal Jenny Hayes. “It’s a proven fact that kids who read well do well in all aspects of their life, so we want to spark that interest in reading and let kids know that reading is exciting and fun and you can enjoy it all at the same time.”

All 215 students in the Stantonsburg school from kindergarten to fifth-grade were encouraged to participate.

Alyssa Harrell, a fifth-grader, helped decorate teacher Sandi Webb’s door. The theme was “Oh, All the Places You’ll Go!”

“I want to be a police office after college because I want to keep the world safe,” Alyssa said of her drawing.

Reading, Alyssa said, is fun because you get to learn interesting things about different people and different places.

Alyssa’s class just finished reading “Hurray for Diffendoofer Day!” It’s a book started by Dr. Seuss and finished after the author’s Sept. 21, 1991, death by Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith.

“He’s really funny, especially about Mrs. Bonkers about the teacher that goes to school but she is different than all of the other teachers because she teaches everything besides one school,” Alyssa said.

“Research shows that if students do not have a solid foundation in reading by the third grade, they will not be as successful as other students that do,” Whitley said. “It is very important for us, as elementary schoolteachers, to lay that foundation for students so that they can be prepared for what they need.”