Did you hear about “WHO” likes to read at Westfield Academy and Central Elementary School?
Just about everybody!
The National Read Across America Day celebration stretched into a whole week for WACS elementary students, centering around Dr. Seuss’s book Horton Hears a Who.
The big day of course was Wednesday, March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. On that day, Michael Cipolla, WACS superintendent, as well as members of the administration and board of education, each read a Dr. Seuss book of their choosing to their assigned class, via ZOOM.
One of the highlights of the day was when Tricia Chapman, family programs coordinator for the Seneca Parks Zoo in Rochester, reading Horton Hears a Who to the entire elementary school. Chapman who works with the three elephants at the zoo, also shared a video of the elephants and answered questions about them.
“The children were so quiet listening to Tricia,” said kindergarten teacher Nancy Miller, who organized the week’s activities with the help of 15-20 committee members. “They were just enthralled.”
Miller has been organizing the Read Across America activities since the day was introduced in 1998.
“I’ve been doing this since Day 1 of Read Across America,” Miller said. “It’s been my baby.”
Each day of the week had a special theme and an opportunity to wear a special outfit. Monday was “Hats Off to Reading” day and everyone was invited to wear a special hat. Tuesday was “Reading Jogs the Mind” Day , and students were invited to wear workout clothes. On Wednesday, everyone showed up in team jerseys for “Team Up for Reading” Day. Thursday saw a lot of superheroes in the school for “Reading Gives You Superpowers” Day. On Friday, “Cozy Up with a Book” Day gave students and faculty a chance to relax in their pajamas.
The committee members for Read Across America stood out by wearing special pink shirts that read “Be Kind, Be True, Be Absolutely You,” which is a line from Horton Hears a Who. The shirts were made by Miller, faculty member Heather Claypool, and Molly Anderson, district curriculum director.
Miller said she was exceptionally pleased with this year’s Read Across America celebration.
“I thought it’s been a beautiful week,” she said. “The smiles we saw were just priceless.”
Adding to the excitement was the fact that on Wednesday, children were no longer required to wear masks. Miller said she felt this had a great effect.
“The climate and atmosphere felt like normal again,” she said.
Miller said the Read Across America celebration is exceedingly important for children.
“It’s like a great shot in the arm this time of year. Reading is number one,” she said. “This is where it all starts. You have to read, you have to experience the love of reading. It’s a lifelong skill.”
Miller said she is a great proponent of reading and she strongly encourages parents to read to their children.
“If parents would just take 10 minutes a night to read to their children, the children would go far,” she said. “All of the children really enjoyed our guest readers.”