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Read Across America needs volunteers for Feb. 28 event

Posted: February 7, 2014 5:05 p.m.
Updated: February 10, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Read a book, make a difference in a child’s life. The Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce and Partners in Education will conduct an annual Read Across America event Friday, Feb. 28. The two organizations are seeking volunteers to go to Kershaw County’s 11 elementary schools that morning to read Dr. Seuss books to students.

The event is normally held on Seuss’ birthday, March 2. However, that is a Sunday this year, so organizers chose Feb. 28 instead. Seuss, whose real name was Theodore Seuss Geisel, was born March 2, 1904, and died in 1991. He published 46 children’s books, many of which have been adapted as television specials and feature films.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Liz Horton said up to 231 volunteer readers are needed, but fewer could fulfill the project if some are willing to read to more than one class.

“All across the county we will have volunteers, parents and business leaders going into classes up to fifth grade and reading to students,” Horton said. “They can bring their own books from home or they will be available in the media center at each school.

She said Target Distribution Center is one of the “really big partners” in the program.

“They recruit a lot of volunteers from their workforce. We’ve had other community leaders, like the sheriff, and I’m going to contact the county council to see if some of them will volunteer to read,” she said.

Horton said the goal is to instill a love for books in the children.

“Our hope is to make them lifelong learners and lovers of reading,” Horton said. “They say that children from kindergarten through third grade are learning to read, then they are reading to learn, so you want to introduce books to children as young as you possibly can. I think they love having the adults come to their classrooms. It’s a lot of fun for the children and the teachers really get into it. It really is a great experience.”

Tim Hopkins is the Kershaw County School District’s executive director for K-12 instruction. He said Read Across America Day is highly anticipated each year.

“It’s a national celebration of the birthday of Dr. Seuss. It’s a way to commonly reconnect the generations, parents and children, from learning to read Dr. Seuss books,” Hopkins said. “It gives multiple generations an opportunity to join together and also join with the business community. It’s one of the highlights of the school year and the students and parents always look forward to it.”

Volunteers may request which school they would like to visit. They are being asked to arrive at their designated school at 8:15 a.m. that day. The event starts at 8:30 a.m.

For more information or to sign up as a volunteer reader, contact Horton at the chamber office at 432-2525 or by email at lhorton@kershawcountychamber.org. She said she prefers emails, in order to use the sender’s email address to respond.

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