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Shasta students celebrate books of Dr. Seuss
Giselle Rivera and her classmates in kindergarten at Shasta School react as they watch videotapes of Principal Audrey Green and other guest readers during Read Across America on Wednesday. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

They read. They listened to readings. They watched various people reading their favorite books. They wore Dr. Seuss character costumes. They ate green eggs – scrambled – and green apples. They wore hats that looked like the one worn by the character in The Cat in the Hat with a spelling twist.

That’s how the kindergarten and first grade students at Shasta Elementary celebrated the annual Read Across America. It’s also a celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday – 110th this year – which explains the costumes and the theme for the day. The beloved children’s literature author was actually born on March 2 which falls on Sunday this year.

The Hornets’ event, which took place during the breakfast hour in the school’s multi-purpose room, is just one of similar happenings throughout the Manteca Unified School District and across America. The program urges everyone “to pick up a book and read to a child.”

While the children ate their green eggs, green apples and milk in green cartons, they watched a videotape of Principal Audrey Green and selected school staff, students and other guest readers read their favorite books. Among the guest readers, who also explained why they like the books they selected, were retired Shasta School computer technician Rosemary Cadle and retired Hornets teacher Pat Rachels.

The students made their own Dr. Seuss hats on which they wrote different rhyming words contained in the author’s various books, explained Green.

The young Hornets also got to meet several Dr. Seuss book characters in costume. Playing these roles were members of the Student Council.

Some volunteer parents helped make the event possible by decorating the dining tables, Green said.

Why celebrate Dr. Seuss? Random House and the National Education Association explains that Dr. Seuss “epitomizes a love of children and learning” and that “his use of rhyme makes his books an effective tool for teaching young children the basic skills they need to be successful.”

At the same time, Read Across America imparts the important message that reading is not just important, it’s also fun.