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Great Valley 3rd graders read Dr. Seuss

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Steve Moretto, coordinator of compensatory education with the Manteca Unified School District, reads “Thank you, Mr. Falker,” an autobiographical book by Patricia Barber Polacco, to third graders a...


POSTED March 4, 2013 1:20 a.m.

WESTON RANCH - The autobiographical story is about a girl whose life was transformed by words. The author is Patricia Barber Polacco. Her book is simply titled, “Thank You, Mr. Falker.”

It was obvious how much the story touched the third graders in teacher Christine Ross’s class after Manteca Unified School District staff member Steve Moretto closed the book that he just read aloud. When he asked the children what they learned from the story of the dyslexic girl who overcame all the odds, many hands went up.

“Don’t listen to people who tell you you are dumb,” said one student.

“If you read, it can change your life,” piped in another.

The latter answer is one of the reasons why Moretto, Manteca Unified’s coordinator of compensatory education and other volunteer readers like him were at various elementary schools in the district on Friday. That day marked the annual  Read Across America, when various community leaders and other civic volunteers take part in an event that highlights the importance and value of reading to primary-school students.

After praising the students’ answers to his questions about the book he selected to read aloud to them, Moretto pointed out another lesson that readers can learn from Polacco’s story: “Don’t forget to thank your teacher.”

The autobiographical sketch was also a perfect subject choice for the day’s event because the class is learning about biograhies, explained Moretto who further elevated the reading learning level into a Dr. Seuss’s celebration. All of the students were sporting “Cat in the Hat” red and white top hats that they made in class out of construction paper. Their teacher wore a real Top Hat that she has purchased sometime ago. Ross was also excited to announce that one special reason the prolific author of dearly beloved children’s books is near and dear to her is because they have the same birth dates - March 2.

In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, the students read books by the celebrated author during Read Across America day.

Moretto said “Thank You, Mr. Falker,” one of the two books he read to the third graders at Great Valley Elementary School in Weston Ranch, selected it for Read Across America because, for one thing, he has always liked the story. And like many of the volunteer readers who take part in Read Across America, Moretto said this is something he enjoys doing for the children.

“I look forward to the invitation (to read) every year,” he said.

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