Bella Vista Elementary invites guests to celebrate reading
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Literacy is a community affair at Bella Vista Elementary. Special guests helped the school celebrate Read Across America Day on March 2.
“We had visitors from the (University of Utah) soccer team, NFL players, indoor football player, (Brigham Young University) representative, firemen, policemen, school board members and the local librarian from Whitmore Library,” said Principal Cory Anderson.
The special guests rotated classrooms, spending five minutes in each location. All the volunteers read Dr. Seuss stories to six classes. There was even a special “Green Eggs and Ham” themed lunch, in honor of Seuss’ book.
As mentioned in the Canyons School District press release, Kevin Curtis, a Utah native and former NFL player for the St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, came to read Seuss’ “Hop on Pop” and “Fox in Socks” to children.
“Anything to promote reading, the gateway to knowledge and a higher education,” Curtis said. “I was glad to be invited. It was a great opportunity.”
Additional activities were planned throughout the week from Wednesday, March 1 to Friday March 3. For three days, the school held the spring Scholastic book fair.
Tamara Coombs, media assistant at Bella Vista, helped organize the activities for Read Across America Day.
“This was a great opportunity to promote reading to our students and the importance of reading no matter what your future holds,” Coombs said. “For Grandparents Day, we had the grandparents come and eat lunch with their children. After that they were able to come into the book fair and look and buy books for their grandchildren.”
She said the school made over 100 lunches for grandparents and several grandparents brought their own lunches.
“We probably had more than half of the student body have their grandparents show up and eat with them and share their love of books with them,” Coombs said. “It was an amazing morning and the students loved listening to the readers and asking them questions.”
The Bella Vista website posted photos from Grandparents Day and Read Across America activities.
“Dr. Seuss Day was a huge success,” said Anderson. “Thank you so much Mrs. Coombs (media specialist) for putting it all together.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Read Across America Day. Sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA), schools across the country participate in a variety of festivities in celebration of literacy.
In 1998, the NEA held its first Read Across America Day on the anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, March 2.
The NEA website states, “Dr. Seuss’s skill with rhyme and whimsical use of nonsense makes his beloved books an effective tool for teaching young children the basic skills they need to be successful readers. When we celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading, we send a clear message to America’s children that reading is fun and important.”
At the national level, LeVar Burton, host of the PBS Reading Rainbow program, spoke at an NEA roundtable about including more diverse literature in schools.
Utah Education Association sponsored a special Read Across America Day celebration at the Utah State Capitol on Friday, March 3. They invited families to attend, meet with the Cat in the Hat and Curious George, watch a magic show, listen to guest readers, make crafts and tour the capitol. They also provided a free school lunch.