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Read Across America nurtures valuable habit for youth

MADISON – Students throughout Madison City Schools are nurturing one of the most valuable pastimes that anyone can pursue – a love for reading.

In 1998, the National Education Association or NEA started “Read Across America,” which now stands as the country’s major celebration of reading. Read Across America concentrates on motivating children and teenagers to read by using events, partnerships and resources that reflect all people. (nea.org)

For Read Across America, students read books that reflect themselves . . . or they can access a world or a character that differs from their lifestyle.

At Mill Creek Elementary School, students celebrate a love of reading during this special week. Read Across America Week is inclusive for all students, thanks to teachers’ preparations. The student body reads books with fun story lines, enter contests and observe Dress Up Days.

Each morning, Mill Creek students listened to a trivia question about famous pets in children’s books. They submitted answers for a chance to win a $5 gift certificate for the Book Fair in April.

The Mill Creek students dressed in red for the popular book, “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” Other days for Read Across America included “Pete the Cat’s Magic Sunglasses,” “Knuffle Bunny,” “Can I Be Your Dog?” and “Splat the Cat Dreams Big.”

At Heritage Elementary School, students only needed a library card to view the “Story of the Day” on Bookflix (hmcpl.org/books). Dual access to a printed book and watching a video reinforced the easy access to reading sources. Following the week’s animal theme, students donated to The Ark rescue shelter.

On Monday, Feb. 28, Heritage teachers urged students to ‘spring’ into Read Across America with the featured book, “Planting a Rainbow” by Lois Ehlert. Students wore clothing in their favorite color or rainbow hues.

Pajamas were the suggested outfit to relax and enjoy “How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?’ by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. On March 2, the day’s anthem was “Be Cool and Show Kindness to Others Day. To show their ‘coolness,’ the children at Heritage wore sunglasses as they listened to “Peanut Butter and Jellyfish” by author Jarrett J. Krosoczka.

Laurie Keller’s “Do Unto Otters” used its title pun to encourage students to meet someone new; students wore a Heritage logo shirt to greet others. The week wrapped with “The Book With No Pictures” by B.J. Novak, best known for his acting on “The Office.” Heritage students showed the power of words by wearing shirts imprinted with a message.

Each day, Madison Elementary School students wore dress-up themes and engaged in activities that related to the day’s books. On “Color Outside the Lines Day,” their books included “the dot,” “Sky Color,” “Bear Sees Colors” and “Festival of Colors.”

For more information, visit nea.org.

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