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Dr. Seuss is in the (school) house

Read Across America Day

POSTED: March 11, 2010 12:18 p.m.
Photo by Denise Etheridge/

During Monday's Read Across America celebration, Ginger Cucolo reads "Yertle the Turtle" to Tarsha Washington's second-grade class at Diamond Elementary School.

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Cats in red and white striped stovepipe hats roamed the halls of Diamond Elementary School on Fort Stewart on Monday as the 10th annual Read Across America program kicked off at area schools this week.
The Read Across America initiative, established by the National Education Association, encourages children to read through events such as the weeklong celebration at Diamond Elementary. The reading event is usually held on or near March 2, the birthday of children’s author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.
Dr. Seuss, who wrote more than 60 children’s books, often used rhyme in his books, which were generally filled with quirky characters involved in humorous plots. Many educators have credited Seuss’ simple “beginner books” for instilling a love of reading in generations of American children.
As part of Read Across America, adults are asked to read to children.
Celebrity “readers,” such as Stewart-Hunter Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Milton, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo’s wife, Ginger Cucolo, 3rd ID Deputy Commanding General-rear Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, rear detachment commander Col. Stuart McRae, 2nd Brigade Commander Col. Charles Sexton’s wife, Melody Sexton, U.S.Rep. John Barrow’s ambassador Wes DeVegter of Augusta, and Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas read grade-appropriate books to a number of classes. Soldiers from the school’s host battalion, 1-9 Field Artillery of the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, also volunteered to read to Diamond Elementary students this week.
Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, currently serving in Iraq, even sent a video of himself reading a children’s book to the school so he could participate in the program.
Teachers decorated halls and classrooms with literary characters, many from Dr. Seuss’ ageless books including “One Fish, Two Fish,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat.”
Media specialist Alicia Romans, who oversees Diamond Elementary School’s media center, dressed in a Cat in the Hat costume and labored for two days to create a Cat in the Hat cake for the volunteers’ reception on Monday. Romans set aside a number of books for volunteers to read to students.
Several Read Across America volunteers, such as DeVegter, read books of their choosing. DeVegter read “Woodrow, the White House Mouse,” one of his daughter Alanna’s favorite books. He donated it with her permission to the school library.
Adults weren’t the only Read Across America volunteers on hand Monday.
Sixteen-year-old Reagan Williams, daughter of Lt. Col. Thomas Williams and Dina Williams, helped the school organize its Read Across America celebration by inviting many of the community’s leaders to read. Reagan also sent out 35-40 letters to book publishers requesting donations of books for the school’s library.
“I just love books,” Reagan said. Reagan is the second oldest of five children, all of whom are avid readers.
“We have seven bookcases filled with books at home,” Dina Williams said. Williams homeschools her children.
Williams said her daughter had attended a leadership camp, and “wanted to do something for the community.” Reagan decided to acquire donated books for Diamond Elementary when she was told students wanted a greater book selection from the school library, her mother said.
In addition to Diamond Elementary, Brittin and Kessler Elementary schools on Fort Stewart participated in Read Across America this week.
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