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It's Read Across America — and the School District

Clover Park schools celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday and books in general with parades, reading swaps and, of course, green eggs and ham.

It’s a day for the books.

March 2 is a big day in schools across the nation – not only is it the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, but it is also the day of the National Education Association’s Read Across America, an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls on every child across the country to celebrate reading.

And in the Clover Park School District, schools celebrated the day in style.

The festivities kicked off this morning at Park Lodge Elementary with its fifth-annual Read Across America parade, in which students and some staff dressed up as their favorite character from a book. Some classes focused on a specific theme or book, such as Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

One Kindergarten class has been celebrating the 100th day of school, and students wore headbands to match the corresponding book.

“It’s really fun,” said organizer Tracy Abdella, who teaches reading and kindergarten. “They get a chance to see other teachers and classes that they might be going to next year, and siblings. It’s a fun little assembly for everyone to see everyone else.”

As for the costumes, “There can be some pretty creative ones.”

Later in the day, students rotated through a trio of classrooms where a different teacher was reading a book for 15 minutes – each teacher would end up reading their book three times.

Most fun, Abdella said, is this year’s theme: Read S’more Books, which included s’mores for students at the end of the day.

“We’re trying to instill a love of reading in all of the kids,” she said. “And this is exposure to books the kids may not have at home.”

Custer Elementary librarian Diana Kirby said that they planned multiple activities planned to celebrate the day, including a “Stop, Drop and Read” event for 20 minutes at 2 p.m., and a morning reading swap, where a teacher from another class would come share their favorite book with students.

So what book did Kirby share with students?

“Maniac Magee,” she said, naming the 1999 Newbery Award winner by Jerry Spinelli. “It’s one of the first books I read when I started teaching again in the 1990s.”

Staff and students also designed posters of their favorite books and hung them around the library.

But most exciting, Kirby said, is that each Custer student would receive a new book. The Scholastic books are part of a holiday donation to the district by Operation Homefront, and Custer opted to save its allotment for Read Across America.

“There’s so much emphasis on reading for information, reading to be able to take a test that sometimes we lose that it’s just fun to read,” Kirby said. “This is an opportunity to celebrate reading and share with each other what we love reading and talk about the books.”

Over at Tillicum Elementary, students and their families will be feasting on green eggs and ham, among other breakfast foods, for dinner tonight at the school’s annual event.

Office manager Cindy Kerr said the school has been doing the dinner for at least 22 years, and that there will be reading groups, Dr. Seuss paraphernalia and giveaways of books.

“I think it’s a lot of fun,” she said. “During the whole Dr. Seuss week, we read his books to the students, get a theme behind it and the students write stories and wear the colors.”

Other elementary schools with events planned tonight include Lake Louise, with a birthday party for Dr. Seuss at 6 p.m. and Tyee Park, which is hosting Family Fun Reading Night, also at 6.

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