Story and photo by Airman 1st Class Holly Cook
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Read Across America week kicked off Monday at Ramstein Elementary School and concludes today.
Entering its 16th year, Read Across America is a national event, also held at overseas military installations, to educate children of all ages about the importance of reading. It is normally held on or near March 2 to honor Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birthday. Geisel is better known as Dr. Seuss.
This year’s main event, “Grab a Hat and Parade with the Cat,” is being held today to conclude the weeklong celebration.
“I believe it’s important for the children to be at school for the event so they can see modeled reading,” said Marianne Warwick, RES first-grade teacher. “It makes the children feel good to see their parents come to the school to read to them. I also believe that it’s good because it gets the community involved.”
With almost 45 million Americans who participate in the event every year, Ramstein’s educators are doing their part in encouraging the importance of reading to children. RES is participating in a weeklong event with students partaking in different themes each day, such as crazy sock day and a day to wear black and white to honor “The Cat in the Hat.”
“Along with the different themes for each day, each separate class holds their own different events,” Warwick said. “My class is bringing in different snacks for each theme and also reading different books each day in class.”
Dr. Seuss, who is best known for writing children’s books like “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” has been a staple in American reading history for people of all ages.
“Dr. Seuss is a great tool to show the importance of reading because the books really have no age limit,” said Sonya Landner, RES first-grade teacher. “Seeing that there is no age limit gets the kids excited about reading.”
The teachers agreed that showing the children that reading can be fun at any age is one of the key messages they are trying to express to the students. Conveying the importance of reading and how it is involved with the rest of their education at a young age can boost the minds of young children.
“Making reading fun for the children at this age, because they are just starting out with learning how to read, will carry into their adulthood,” Warwick said.
One way the teachers made it fun was to allow the children to bring in their own books from home to share and read to the class.
“In my class, I asked all the children to bring in books from home to be read to the class,” said Suzanne Laudar, RES first-grade teacher.
“Reading the books to them and showing them how the books incorporate the whole curriculum that is taught at our school is one of the goals of this process.”