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West Madison’s Dr. Seuss Cafe serves good reading

 

A Target employee helps a student with makeup for the Dr. Seuss Cafe at West Madison Elementary School.  CONTRIBUTED
A Target employee helps a student with makeup for the Dr. Seuss Cafe at West Madison Elementary School. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – West Madison alumni returned to their former school and joined volunteers and current students to present the annual Dr. Seuss Cafe, a tribute to the power of reading.

Target volunteers, teenagers and West Madison gifted third-graders ‘worked’ in the cafe. “Nearly every book Dr. Seuss has written is on our cafe menu,” gifted specialist Wendy Tibbs said. All six of West Madison’s K-1 teachers scheduled a half-hour to visit the cafe.

Students (‘customers’) entered as a class and Tibbs’ students escorted them to nine decorated tables. They received a menu of Seuss books. The worker submitted orders to the ‘kitchen,’ where Target volunteers loaded trays with requested books.

Target employees applied ‘makeup’ (face paint) for Cat-in-the-Hat whiskers and nose on each patron. Finally, freshmen entertained with Seuss games, juggling and other activities.

Target also donates goldfish snacks for all K-1 students, a Seuss- themed cake, treat bag for ‘cafe workers’ and three Seuss books for the library.

“This year, I had an unusually small number of gifted students, so I invited ninth-graders who had initiated the cafe six year ago,” Tibbs said. Returning alumni were Ange Long and Kayla Whitmark from James Clemens High School and Erin Chambliss, Ashton Jah and Abby McCauley from Bob Jones High School.

Since the cafe ‘opened,’ Tibbs has added fun items. One parent created beautifully decorated, framed Seuss quotes. Another parent designed and printed cafe ‘menus’ to reflect all Seuss books that students could select. “Students order personalized Seuss Cafe T-shirts to wear for years to come,” Tibbs said.

Freshman Ange Long said Dr. Seuss Cafe had influenced her more than she realized as a third-grader. “I’m so happy to come back to help. The cafe is a great way to show K-1 students that reading is fun and enjoyable. Because I love reading, maybe they can view us older kids as role models.”

“It’s all about kids sharing the love of reading and the rhymes of Dr. Seuss with one another,” Tibbs said.

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