Even though Read Across America Day was on Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2nd), Columbia Middle School students were treated to a wide variety of read-aloud stories on Friday, March 1st; these included children’s books, young adult novels, as well as non-fiction works (not just Dr. Seuss’ books).
Started by a reading task force at the National Education Association, Read Across America Day (RAAD) was designated to be a day for everyone in America to celebrate reading, and the group chose Dr. Seuss’ birthday for the first RAAD celebration in 1998.
Research shows that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school. The National Education Association sponsors the Read Across America program and encourages schools, libraries, book stores, hospitals, and churches around the country to host local events to celebrate and promote children’s reading. You can learn more about Read Across America at http://www.readacrossamerica.org/.
Columbia Middle School’s Read Across America Day celebration began in 2009, and in 2011, the RAAD team at CMS decided to invite caring and enthusiastic community members to read aloud from their favorite books. This year, there were a total of 34 readers, among them Sunnyvale School Board member, Anita Herrmann, Fremont High School librarian, Megan Birdsong, CMS principal, Mary Beth Allmann, as well as published author, Ingrid Paulson, who drove from San Francisco to read a suspense-filled segment from her recently published novel, “Valkyrie Rising.” Parent volunteers, CMS alumni, and other CMS staff and teachers also shared their favorite books with students.
Read Across America Day at Columbia Middle School was organized by Laurie Carlson, Instructional Coach at Columbia Middle School. Readers gathered in the library for a warm welcome from Ms. Carlson and Principal. Allmann before they headed off to read. Most readers visited four different classrooms between 8:55 AM and 9:55 AM; each class enjoyed four different volunteers reading from their favorite books. Readers also shared information about themselves, indirectly illustrating how community members took time out of their busy mornings to read to students. Ms. Birdsong shared that she looks forward to seeing CMS students at Fremont High School. Mrs. Herrmann gave a quick civics lesson to students when she explained that she holds an elected office at the Sunnyvale School Board and helped students understand how her job relates to them via their principal and the superintendent.
Columbia Middle School’s Read Across America Day was paired with Pajama Day this year, perfect for the notion of cozying up with a good book. In the words of Dr. Seuss himself, Ms. Carlson and CMS staff celebrated with the belief that “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.” They look forward to more RAAD celebrations in the future.
Article by Nina Wong-Dobkin, with contributions from Laurie Carlson, Instructional Coach at CMS