“You’re never too old, too wacky or wild to pick up a book and read to a child.” Although most people attribute this quote to Dr. Seuss, it was actually part of a poem written by Anita Merina, a National Education Association (NEA) employee. So, why do so many people attribute this quote to Dr. Seuss?
19 years ago, the National Education Association (NEA) established Dr. Seuss’ birthday, March 2, as “Read Across America” day in an effort to encourage children to develop a love of reading. Nationwide, schools, libraries and other organizations plan events to celebrate Dr. Seuss and to foster reading skills. As part of the effort to promote this new (at the time) initiative, Ms. Merina wrote a guest column that appeared in the Augusta Chronicle in 1998. The column included a poem she had written in a Seuss-like, whimsical style that contained that line encouraging adults to join in the mission of nurturing a love of reading.
Regardless of authorship, the quote certainly holds true – and the greater Valley Central community certainly knows this, as many community members – including retired employees, board members and district officials -- volunteered to read to Berea Elementary School students on Wednesday, March 1 when Berea celebrated Read Across America Day.
Berea Elementary School has been celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday all week long, with different themed days. Students decorated their classrooms, voted for their favorite Dr. Seuss character and participated in themes, each based upon a Dr. Seuss book, every day of the week.
On Wednesday, student representatives from each classroom stood in the front lobby with signs welcoming their guest readers and escorted the reader to their classrooms. Students enjoyed a story and then had the opportunity to ask the reader questions.
“Every year, the Read Across America event is a wonderful day where our students not only learn that reading is fun, but also that they are fortunate to be surrounded by community members who are deeply committed to their education,” Superintendent John Xanthis said. “On behalf of the district, I would like to express my gratitude to all of our community members who volunteered their time.”