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Students celebrate “Read Across America” week

This week, schools across the county celebrated reading as part of the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” week.
The week was first started in 1998 as a way to get students excited about reading and the NEA decided to hold the big celebration on March 2 every year in honor of famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss, whose whimsical books are fun for children of all ages to read.
Many of the county’s elementary schools planned special events throughout the week such as “Cat in the Hat” day where students could wear hats to school, crazy socks day to celebrate “Fox in Socks,” a pajama day and even a day to dress up as their favorite book character.
At West Elementary School in Russellville, reading coach Jennifer Warhurst said she collaborated with librarian Mary Kay Rogers to make the week’s events fun and memorable for the students.
“The whole purpose of this week is to get our students excited about reading in the hopes that they will become lifelong readers and learners,” Warhurst said.
“The more we can do to get them interested in reading the better, so we tried this year to do some different activities that may have not been done in the past and show them that reading can be a lot of fun. If we do that, maybe these students will be more apt to pick up a book and read it instead of looking at it as something boring and uninteresting.”
Rogers scheduled readers from all over the community to come in throughout the week and read to students during their library time.
“When we have parents, grandparents and community leaders coming in to read, it shows these students that everyone loves to read,” she said.
“When they see people like Russellville Mayor David Grissom or Fire Chief Joe Mansell or Sheriff Shannon Oliver reading a book, it sends the message to them that you need to be able to read no matter what your career might be. It teaches them that reading is fundamental to education and to life.
“And a lot of students look up to these community leaders and parents, so it just sets a good example. We just appreciate everyone from the community who took time out to read to a class this week.”
WES principal Dr. Chris James said the week of events is something everyone, not just the students, looks forward to every year.
“This is one of the highlights for our school because it’s something everyone participates in and looks forward to,” James said.
“The kids have had great learning experiences as well as a lot of fun.”
“I appreciate the faculty and staff for going above and beyond to prepare for this week and make it special for our students.
“I also appreciate the parents who were active participants either by coming to read or by helping their child prepare for each day’s activities. Because of all the hard work and preparation, I believe this year’s ‘Read Across America’ week has definitely been a success.”