The 17th annual Read Across America event took place Feb. 28 with volunteers converging on all Kershaw County elementary schools to read the works of Dr. Seuss to students in honor of his birthday. Seuss, whose real name was Theodore Seuss Geisel, was born March 2, 1904, but since that date fell on Sunday this year, the event was moved to Feb. 28, a Friday. A creation of the National Education Association, the event is held nationwide.
Seuss penned 46 children’s books, all in his characteristic rhyming writing style with whimsical illustrations.
The Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce helped organize the event, recruiting and scheduling readers. Executive Director Liz Horton said the event was a county-wide success.
“It went well. All the volunteers reported they had a wonderful experience,” Horton said. “I even had a teacher contact me from Camden Elementary who teaches a special needs class and they had a reader who brought a Newfoundland dog that is a therapy dog. His name is Ivan, and the kids really opened up to him in an emotional way and enjoyed it immensely.”
Camden Elementary School Assistant Principal Jackie Norton said the readers, teachers and students all had a fun morning.
“It was really a great experience. All the volunteers came in and chose a book,” Norton said. “I don’t think anyone ever really outgrows Dr. Seuss, and they really enjoyed it.”
Kershaw County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan said Read Across America day is one of his favorites.
“I’m always gratified by the number of community members who are willing to commit to read to kids for half an hour. It means a lot to the students and to their teachers,” Morgan said. “It means a lot to me as superintendent that folks would be so willing to come in and be with us on this special day. I’m especially grateful to the chamber for helping us arrange for all the readers. That’s no small task. What this event does is underscore that the whole community believes reading is important. All these people coming into the schools make that point for our young people.”