BTW Academy celebrates with Dr. Seuss
Author: Tammy L. Lane • First Posted: Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Read Across America Week (Feb 28-March 4)
According to Wendy Brown, if children recognize that reading is a part of daily life, they will carry a love of books throughout their lives.
“It starts at home,” said Brown, principal at Booker T. Washington Academy. “For my 4-year-old son, I have modeled that books are important. We read together, and he sees me read.”
Parent involvement is but one aspect of the National Education Association’s signature program, Read Across America. Now in its 13th year, this initiative motivates children and teens to read through events, partnerships and other resources – particularly alongside caring adults. Read Across America Day takes place each year on or near March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries and community centers participate.
At Booker T. Washington Academy, special guests are dropping by all week to read with students and share why they think reading is important. Mayor Jim Gray, for instance, visited with fifth-graders – many of whom also offered up questions about his new job.
“A big part of being mayor is talking to people, and you’ve got to have something to say,” said Gray, who explained how he gathers information by reading as well as listening to others’ ideas.
“It’s exciting. Every day I learn something new, and I get to go places I haven’t been before,” he said, noting it was his first visit to BTW Academy.
The school also invited a track athlete from the University of Kentucky, a police officer, a realtor, a storyteller and Rosie the Recycler from Bluegrass PRIDE. In addition, students are logging their own nightly reading in hopes of their class winning the big prize: a chance to toilet-paper their principal and guidance counselor on Friday’s morning news show!
“They are really focused on reading every night and showing their commitment has increased,” said fifth-grade teacher Aura Shafer, adding, “They’re really enjoying better discussions with their parents and reading with their siblings.”
The school already requires students to read a set amount of minutes every evening, so this week’s challenge merely upped the ante a little: primary students are to read 15 minutes and intermediate students 30 minutes each night. The goal is 100 percent participation.
“It’s great family time,” said 10-year-old Dasia Lewis, whose all-time favorite Dr. Seuss book is “The Cat in the Hat.”
Classmate Myracle Jones remembers her mother reading classics like “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” to her and thinks Dr. Seuss’ style is great for encouraging youngsters.
“If they’ll read fun books, then they’ll want to read more,” she said.
These days, Myracle enjoys checking books out of the library herself.
“When I read a book I like, I don’t even notice that I’m reading. I just picture it in my head,” she said.
If you go
Read Across America finale
What: The Fayette County Education Association hosts a culminating event with celebrity readers, fun activities and the Cat in the Hat himself!
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday March 5
Where: Fayette Mall
Contact: Jessica Hiler, FCEA president