Students celebrate Read Across America

BERKELEY LAKE - Students at Berkeley Lake Elementary School wished Dr. Seuss a belated happy birthday on Friday, singing "Happy Birthday to You" to the popular children's author and eating cupcakes at lunch.

Schools across the nation last week celebrated Read Across America, a National Education Association campaign to promote literacy by making reading fun. Monday - Seuss' birthday - was Read Across America Day, but icy conditions that morning caused Gwinnett County Public Schools to close.

While Berkeley Lake Elementary had activities planned throughout the week, Monday's events, including the birthday celebration and a visit from Mayor Lois Salter, had to be rescheduled, media specialist Melinda O'Herron said.

"Reading is so integral to learning and being lifelong learners," O'Herron said. "It's good when students see people in the community ... sharing and showing how important reading is. Modeling is important for students."

Salter read Seuss' story, "The Sneetches," to a second-grade class. She was one of several community members who visited the school to read to students.

The mayor said she used to read the story to students when she taught peer leadership at Duluth High.

"Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars," Salter began, as she read the story that carries an anti-discriminatory message.

"I love to read, and one of my favorite things is reading to my grandchildren," Salter said.

O'Herron said Seuss books, with their rhythm and rhymes, make it easy to show children reading can be fun.

"I think Dr. Seuss books capture the imagination in children," she said.