There was something especially sweet about reading at Washington School in Union City recently. On March 2, kids were treated to free scoops of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday, part of the third annual "Read Across America" day. And there may be more sweet stuff to come. Ben & Jerry's, the Vermont-based makers of ice cream and frozen yogurt, said they will give another ice cream party to each class that reads 125 books by Memorial Day (May 29). Schools across the U.S. picked up books on March 2 in celebration of Read Across America and to pay tribute to the late Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, on his 96th birthday. Seuss's popular children's books include "Green Eggs and Ham" and "The Cat in the Hat." The day's event got underway at 9 a.m. in the Washington School gymnasium with a concert by the "Symphonettes," the school's 20-member band headed by Ms. Evelyn Kenyan. Then Jess Garcia, a Ben & Jerry's regional sales manager for the NY metro area, hosted "Get the Scoop with Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream 2000." Garcia challenged students from grades 4, 5, and 6 to read as much as they could and then gave out free ice cream to more than 400 students. Students indulged in Cherry Garcia, cookie dough and orange and vanilla swirl. Also in attendance were students from Union Hill High School who read to kindergarten, first and third grade classrooms from Dr. Seuss classics like "Cat in the Hat." From 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. all classrooms stopped what they were doing to read books of their choice. About 50 children sporting "Cat In the Hat" hats from second grade gathered in the library to choose books. Parents were also encouraged to read with their children. Kids who brought back a signed sheet of paper stating that they had read a book together with a parent were given a red pencil with the inscription, "Washington School Celebrates Read Across America." Coupled with the prospect of having an ice cream party in their classroom, children seemed genuinely excited about reading 125 books by Memorial Day. "I'll go home and read 20 books over the weekend," said 10-year-old Christian Calderon, a fourth grader who believes that Dr. Seuss is one of the biggest reasons he has excelled at reading. "I don't want to stop. I'm using all my free time. I've got straight A's and when I was little I used to read 'Green Eggs and Ham.'" Natasha Suarez, another 10-year-old fourth grader who is a violinist in the school band, said, "I really like the ice cream. I'm going to go home and read five books tonight. I love reading so much I even got an 'A' in reading on my report card." Lourdes Garcia, a teacher at Washington School and the wife of Jess Garcia, said she was overwhelmed with the positive response by students. "I didn't know they were going to be so responsive to ice cream," she said. "I never knew you could use ice cream as a tool for reading." She continued, "Ben & Jerry's is on a social mission. It's based on helping the community. He [Jess Garcia] wanted to help children and this is their pilot program in this school. It will continue here and who knows, if it goes well it might continue in the entire district." Lourdes said Jess came up with the idea in keeping with the company's efforts to continue its involvement in the community. She added that Ben & Jerry's has always been active in sponsoring orphanages in New York, but this is the company's first attempt to sponsor literacy programs in Hudson County. The Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's company gives away 7.5 percent of its pre-tax earnings by supporting projects that are models for social change. The company was founded in 1978 in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont by childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield with a $12,000 investment.