By Amy Batista, Special Writer
CRANBURY – Guest celebrity readers and a variety of Dr. Seuss-related activities helped celebrate the annual “Read Across America” week at the Cranbury School District.
Throughout the week, readers from the community served as “celebrity readers” for the students and school administrators pitched in as well according to district media specialist Kelly Fusco.
She said that students started off the week with the program “Reading is Relaxing,” which featured students being allowed to wear their pajamas or sweatpants to school.
Tuesday was “Wacky Socks Day in honor of Dr. Seuss’ “Fox in Socks” book; Wednesday was “Vocabulary Day,” where students dressed up to represent a vocabulary word from a favorite book; Thursday was “Read My Shirt” that featured students wearing t-shirts with a positive message; and Friday was “Drop Everything and Read Day,” where students wore wacky glasses.
Ms. Fusco said among the most exciting events of the week “Seussology,” a program celebrating the works of Dr. Seuss, for pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade students.
“Seussology” was presented by Currier’s Magical Mania where students participated in a Seuss trivia, learned the Foot Book Dance during the Seussology Dance Party and learned Seussology rhyming, all while exploring the background of Dr. Seuss.
“The cat is here to play with you. There’s lots of things for us to do, but before we begin our tribute to Dr. Seuss, I need everyone criss-cross on their bottom,” said owner Cheryl Anne Currier, who was dressed as the Cat in the Hat.
She then asked the students their favorite Dr. Seuss book and some different questions about the book and its characters.
“Green Eggs and Ham’ is a book that only has 50 different words but the words are repeated over and over and over again,” she said.
Next, she selected six students from the audience – three girls and three boys – to participate in her Suessology Game Show in which the students had to answer questions and listen to sound bites and name the movie they came from.
“After being stuck for years on a page, me, I am here,” she said. “Who am I? What’s the name of the book?”
“The Cat in the Hat” was the response from the girl’s team.
Ms. Currier talked about a newly published Dr. Seuss book called “The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories.”
“It was published in 2011 and it’s a book on stories that were lost,” she said. “They were written back in the 1950s and they were never put into a book. They were written in magazines. Somebody went onto the computer and did their homework and did some research and found these missing stories.”
Next, the students took a break to learn how to do the Foot Book Dance.
“When Dr. Seuss was your age what do you think he liked to do the most?” she said.
“Write,” said one student.
“No, he didn’t like to write when he was your age,” Ms. Currier said.
“Imagining,” said another student. “He draws stuff.”
That was correct.
“He was an illustrator long before he was an author,” said Ms. Currier.
There are 51 known books written by Dr. Seuss, according to Ms. Currier. And he was rejected 27 times by publishers before his first book was published.
“He was persistent and that is what you have to be.”
Ms. Currier then recited another lost story from the “The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories” called “The Rabbit, the Bear, and the Zinniga-Zanniga” in which a rabbit escapes being eaten by convincing the bear that he has a rare but serious disorder.
She concluded the story and show by bringing out a rabbit for the students to see.
The well-known children’s book writer, Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was celebrated days after what would have been his 112th birthday March 2.
This year marked the 19th annual National Read Across America Day, which was created by the National Education Association as the annual date as a time for reading motivation and awareness.
According to the National Education Association’s website, had suggested classroom activities for teachers to “go wild for reading” to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ newly discovered book, “What Pet Should I Get?” In this guide, teachers found ideas for classroom-based activities and school-wide events that take advantage of students’ affinity for animals and Dr. Seuss’ talent for creating fantastic creatures.
The National Education Association is building a nation of readers through its signature program, NEA’s Read Across America. Now in its 19th year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources, according to its website.
“From a child’s first foray into the depths of a story to an adult’s escape into a world of words, reading plays an integral role in our lives,” said President Barack Obama in a signed proclamation Read Across America.
By Amy Batista, Special Writer