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East Midvale Students Celebrate Seuss Week

Apr 07, 2016 02:24PM ● Published by Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com

Midvale - It was the first time East Midvale second-grader Victor Rios had read to a dog. It was Benny’s first time listening to students, but together they had a fun way to finish up the week as the school celebrated Dr. Seuss Week.

Victor said that he read “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket,” by Dr. Seuss, to the one-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but his favorite Seuss book is “If I Ran the Zoo.”

“Dr. Seuss uses rhymes and inventive words. I wrote a book that sort of rhymes too. It’s about a seal and time travel,” he said.

East Midvale has celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2 for more than a decade before expanding to celebrate it as a weeklong event for about the past five years, community school facilitator Shelley McCall said.

“In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, East Midvale is joining schools and libraries across the country to celebrate the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day, which is on March 2,” McCall said. “All week we will be celebrating Dr. Seuss’ contribution to children’s literature and how his verse has created a love of reading for so many.”

During the week, students had activities that encouraged literacy, such as reading with their parents before school one morning during the week of Feb. 29 through March 4. Another time, volunteers from XO Communications shared their favorite Dr. Seuss stories with classes.

Each day, students could dress up to match a Dr. Seuss book, McCall said. For example, one day, students wore green for “Green Eggs and Ham,” and red or blue for “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” They also could dress up wacky for the book “Wacky Wednesday” or as a cat or wearing a hat for “The Cat in the Hat.” 

“We had twins dress up as Thing One and Thing Two; it was great fun,” she said. 

“On Friday, we encourage students to be college-ready, so they could wear a college shirt to represent the book ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’”

The week’s accumulation of activities concluded with Benny and Samantha, a sheltie, as representatives of the Therapy Animals of Utah coming to listen to the school’s RAD readers.

“Our week will conclude with RAD reader rewards for two students in each class who have read the most,” McCall said.

Small groups of students were brought to read to the dogs, handled by Merrillyn Morris and Lois Huebner.

Second-grader Eli Raiz, said, “She’s fluffy,” as he pet Samantha while reading “A Big Guy Took My Ball,” by Mo Willems. “I haven’t read to a dog before, but she doesn’t seem to mind that.”

Huebner said that Samantha, as with all therapy dogs, welcomes beginner readers because they are calm, and she doesn’t correct or criticize them.

“They’re just accepting and welcoming for students to come and read,” she said.

Morris said it gives students a nice break and everyone seems to love dogs.

“They bring joy and make people happy,” she said. “It’s a nice break for them and people will walk out of their way to say hi and pet the dogs. That lets these students know it’s special and they want to read to them.”

East Midvale reading interventionist Marce Weibel said that she encourages students to read more, and she especially loves Dr. Seuss.

“Every day they experience something fun, whether it’s Wacky Dress or Hat Day, but I just want to encourage them to read during the week,” she said. “Many of the younger readers will read Dr. Seuss books, which are great fun, but the older kids may read something else.”

McCall said the week is meant to encourage literacy.

“We are encouraging students just to want to read and love doing so,” she said.  

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