Students Celebrate Read Across America Week

by Katie Mercogliano ’14

On Thursday, February 28, more than 20 football players, cheerleaders and volleyball players visited Belmont Elementary School in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America Week, starting on March 2. Each Warrior paired up and chose a Dr. Seuss book of their liking to read to the children.

The event was coordinated by Coach Mike Bonavia, Belmont Reading Specialist Colleen O’Donnell, Belmont PTA President Paul Geller and Belmont Principal Peter Bray in order to enthuse and motivate young children to read for fun.

Senior volleyball player Katie Russell, a reader from last year’s event, returned again this year. Russell read “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” to a class of fourth graders, including her little sister. Russell talked about the message behind her book, “It’s important because it lets [kids] know that they won’t always succeed,” Russell explained. “You have the ability and responsibility to decide what you’re going to do with your life but it also mentions that you won’t always succeed and that you always have to pick yourself back up and keep going.”

Juniors Cara Farley and Dean Emerson read the classic “Green Eggs and Ham” to a class of kindergartners. Farley, a varsity cheerleader, noted the book’s relevant message for young children. “Its message is important because it’s about trying new things.”

Emerson, a varsity football player, truly reflected the vitality of reading to the children because he had lost his voice that morning and still showed up to read, to his best ability, to the children. “Reading opens up new doors and ideas to people,” Emerson said. “Young kids are still developing their outlooks on life, so it is important that they learn positive life lessons from classic books, such as Dr. Seuss books, as opposed to many of the shows that are on television.”

Senior football player Josh Yagel also talked about why kids should start enjoying reading at a young age. “I think reading is really important for kids to start enjoying at a young age because reading is really the basis for all learning and it opens up a lot of doors in education and in life,” said Yagel.

Geller explained why Read Across America Week is such a necessity for young children. “One of the reasons why it’s really important for kids to read at an early age is for them to learn that it’s really cool and it engages them. Everything you’re going to do from here on out, going to the grocery store, filing your taxes, working in an office, everything involves reading. Kids at a very early age, if you start reading to them they learn to love it and it becomes a passion, and that’s what you want because learning and reading become hand-in-hand … and that’s why personally, as a PTA leader in the Sherwood cluster, I am thrilled to see Sherwood athletes and Sherwood scholars come to read to these kids,” expressed Geller.

Geller also elaborated on why books by Dr. Seuss are ideal choices for the Read Across America event. “Dr. Seuss is the quintessential out of the box thinker,” Geller said. “So much these days is focused on teaching to the test, taking tests, preparing for tests, eating snacks for the test … but Dr. Seuss is not about that. Dr. Seuss is about creativity, he’s about making up words you never heard before, he’s about fun and he’s about whimsical drawings. He’s everything that’s good about creativity.”

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