Weehawken elementary school students celebrated “Read Across America Day” on March 9 with a colorful birthday cake and readings from the works of children’s author Dr. Seuss, who would have been 105 years old this month.
The national celebration encouraged children to read by inviting members of the community to give readings at local schools.
Seventh-grader Kyra Baker read the Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham” to younger students at Webster School. Kyra said the students were well prepared for the day.
“They kind of knew the book already,” Baker said, “so they knew what was going to happen next.”
Sixth-grader Andrea Languidey welcomed guests at Theodore Roosevelt School. She was dressed up as the popular Seuss character “The Cat in the Hat.”
Even Deputy Mayor Robert Sosa wore a white and red striped hat while reading to Daniel Webster and Theodore Roosevelt school students, including his granddaughters.
“He always comes in costume,” said Roosevelt principal Anthony D’Angelo. “He was really working up a sweat in that hat. He’s so animated when he reads, and the children can really relate to that.”
Mayor Richard Turner, members of the Township Council, Superintendent Kevin McLellan, Board of Education members, and popular drug abuse education Police Officers Sergio Fasciano and Michael DeBari all gave renditions of Seuss’s whimsical tales.
‘Step it up’
“ ‘Read Across America Day’ is something special to do for the children,” said D’Angelo, “and it encourages them to read. This year, it fit in really well with our reading challenge.”
“The event really refocused the children on reading.” – Anthony D’Angelo
“The event really refocused the children on reading,” D’Angelo said. “In October, they’re really gangbusters about reading and the challenge, but after the holidays it kind of tails off; the kids have their research projects to do. But now the kids are focusing on reading again, and we’ll follow that through the rest of the year.”
Every student that reads 400 pages gets a sneaker placed on the wall in recognition of the accomplishment.
“Some of the children read more than others,” D’Angleo said. “We have plenty of sneakers.”
Getting creative with Dr. Seuss
Pre-K Teacher Dorothy Helwig organized the event for the children of Webster School, along with help from other members of the faculty.
Leading up to the day, children and teachers decorated the walls with artwork pertaining to Dr. Seuss.
“The pictures are all places in the books,” Helwig said, “either in water, land or air.”
Each child was given a picture of her or himself that Helwig printed on the school’s computer to paste up on the wall.
“There’s children surfing,” Helwig said, “or diving in submarines, or riding in canoes.”
“The kids really enjoy the day,” said Webster principal Anthony Colasurdo. “There is participation from every aspect of the community. From the high school to the Girl Scouts, the Board of Education, the council – the adults have just as much fun as the kids.”
Daniel Webster School invites parents and students to continue to promote learning with their “Math Family Night” on March 19 at 6 p.m., when both adults and children can have fun with math. For more information on the school’s upcoming activities call (201) 422-6150.
Sean Allocca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org