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The City Journals

Reading is a celebration at Driggs Elementary

Mar 27, 2017 11:36AM ● By Rubina Halwani

Families eat and read together at the Books and Bagels Breakfast. (Emily Burningham/Driggs PTA)

By: Rubina Halwani | [email protected]
Children in schools across the country celebrated Read Across America Day on March 2. Many schools extended the recognition to a weeklong festivity. Students at Driggs Elementary celebrated from Feb. 27 to March 3 with special activities for each day.
Emily Burningham, Driggs PTA member, shared the week’s activities. On Monday, students took pictures in a Dr. Seuss photo booth and signed a book banner.
“Kids wrote the title of their favorite book and signed their name for a sweet to motivate and excite them to read more,” said Burningham.
Tuesday was Crazy Socks Day. Staff and students wore wild-patterned socks similar to the red-and-white-striped socks adorned by Dr. Seuss’s famous Cat in the Hat.
The rest of the week’s activities included wearing favorite color to show individuality, a birthday party for Dr. Seuss and a books and bagels event on Friday to end the week.
Burningham said cake was served for students and faculty for the birthday party. The PTA provided the cake through the Granite School District catering service.
“The kids went crazy for this. It was our own little birthday party for Dr. Seuss with balloons and cake for all,” said Burningham.
Parents were invited to the school on Friday morning to participate in the books and bagels event. Families read together over the special breakfast, provided by the PTA and Einstein’s Bagels. 
“Our principal greeted each family wearing a signature red and white Cat in the Hat top hat. We served approximately 400 at this breakfast event and it was a blast. Kids and parents enjoyed choosing from an assortment of bagel flavors and cream cheese and chose a book from a mobile book cart from our school library. It was packed with people and fun in our multipurpose room,” said Burningham.
In 1998, the National Education Association (NEA) held its first Read Across America Day on the anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2.
The NEA website states, “Dr. Seuss’s skill with rhyme and whimsical use of nonsense makes his beloved books an effective tool for teaching young children the basic skills they need to be successful readers. When we celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading, we send a clear message to America’s children that reading is fun and important.”
At Driggs, teachers read Dr. Seuss’s books in class. Students also learned about his life and played word and trivia games in remembrance of the author.
Cindy Long, senior writer/media specialist for the NEA, issued a press release for the NEA’s 20th anniversary. In it, she wrote, “March 2 marks the 20th anniversary of NEA’s Read Across America, the nation’s largest reading celebration, with more than 45 million students, parents, educators and others participating every year.”
At the national level, LeVar Burton, host of the PBS Reading Rainbow program, spoke at an NEA roundtable about including more diverse literature in schools.
Utah Education Association sponsored a special Read Across America Day celebration at the Utah State Capitol on Friday, March 3. They invited families to attend, meet with Cat in the Hat and Curious George, watch a magic show, listen to guest readers, make crafts and tour the capitol. They also provided a free school lunch.
Reflecting on the week, Burningham said, “Our students enjoy this week and look forward to having a blast while celebrating reading along with the remarkable Dr. Seuss, whose books make us want to read them over and over no matter our age.”
PTA co-presidents Kevin and Ginger Vilchinsky issued this statement in the March issue of the Driggs Elementary newsletter: “Reading is the foundation for all other learning.”
They continued, “We have been asked to read a minimum of 20 minutes each night with our children.” They shared the challenge this may pose for some, but invited the school community to engage in Read Across America together.