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Read Across America day helps students, teachers celebrate books

Staff Photo: John Bohn Lindsay Harmon of the Gwinnett Braves reads a Dr. Seuss story to students at Sycamore Elementary school in Sugar Hill while mascot Chopper looks on Friday afternoon. Representatives of the Gwinnett Braves presented a check to Sycamore Elementary School in Sugar Hill for the funding of e-readers.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Lindsay Harmon of the Gwinnett Braves reads a Dr. Seuss story to students at Sycamore Elementary school in Sugar Hill while mascot Chopper looks on Friday afternoon. Representatives of the Gwinnett Braves presented a check to Sycamore Elementary School in Sugar Hill for the funding of e-readers.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Natori Lyle, left, dressed as the Mad Hatter and Steele Smith, right, dressed at Clifford the Big Red Dog, join classmates at Sycamore Elementary School in Sugar Hill as Lindsay Harmon of the Gwinnett Braves reads two Dr. Seuss stories to students at the school Friday. Representatives of the Gwinnett Braves presented a check to the school for the funding of e-readers.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Lindsay Harmon of the Gwinnett Braves reads a Dr. Seuss storie to students at Sycamore Elementary school in Sugar Hill Friday. Representatives of the Gwinnett Braves, including mascot Chopper, presented a check to the school for the funding of e-readers.

SUGAR HILL -- A national reading awareness event on Friday urged children across the country to pick up a book. Students from all over Gwinnett County participated in a variety of ways--from dressing as their favorite literary characters or famous personalities to sitting down and relaxing for story time.

It also gave students a chance to honor one of literature's most famous authors, Dr. Seuss, whose birthday is March 2.

To ring in the annual Read Across America Day, Ten-year-old David Mason dressed as Seuss character Thing 1 from "Green Eggs and Ham." The Sycamore Elementary student wasn't alone in costume at the school on Friday. Liam Glass donned a Texas Rangers jersey, while AJ Rathbun sported Harry Potter garb.

Rathbun was among many other Harry Potters Friday in Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Camp Creek Elementary had its share of J.K. Rowling-inspired outfits too, according to the school's media specialist, Linda Houghton.

"There were some phenomenal costumes," Houghton said. "Lots of little Harry Potters running around."

She said students from Camp Creek Elementary have the benefit of being in walking distance of Parkview High School. They took advantage by strolling over to the school Friday, where "the big kids in the big school" read their favorite children's books to the elementary students.

"We've always partnered with Parkview," Houghton said. "It's an opportunity for our kids to interact with the older kids, who are the role models of most of the elementary school students. For the children to see their role models talking in an excited way about books, it's an endorsement of reading."

At Sycamore, Lindsay Harmon of the Gwinnett Braves read Dr. Seuss' "Oh the Places You'll Go" to students, while mascot Chopper silently acted out parts from the story.

The students seemed to enjoy the illustrated children's tale. They laughed and listened as Harmon and Chopper entertained.

Mason, dressed as Thing 1, approved. "I liked the scary parts of the book," he said, beaming. "It was good." Glass and Rathbun concurred.

Their principal at Sycamore, Amy Bryan, was glad to see her students reaping the benefits of a good book.

"It makes the kids feel good," Bryan said. "It's something special for them. The kids look forward to Read Across America Day every year. I look forward to it myself. It's just fun."

According to the National Educational Association's website, Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration in its 15th year that "focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships and reading resources."

For more information, visit www.nea.org.