RACINE — The casual visitor to Southern Elementary School last Wednesday may have been thinking that things were just a “little wacky” at the highly proactive school.
After all, it was “Wacky Wednesday,” which was just one of the many activities the school promoted to encourage reading in grades pre-K to sixth grade as part of “Read Across America Week.”
Read Across America Week is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually during the first week of March. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens and books. This year, teachers incorporated reading guides and activities to celebrate reading with Southern’s young people. The results were overwhelmingly positive.
Dr. Seuss’s birthday is also celebrated during “Read Across America Week,” so many of the week’s activities followed a Dr. Seuss theme. The celebration was sponsored by the Southern Title I program and literacy coach Meg Guinther. Teachers involved with the reading event wore Dr. Seuss-themed shirts and participated in many of the other weeklong activities.
“We are thrilled with the excitement that this week produced for reading,” Guinther said. “It was fun for the kids, fun for the teachers, and most of all it promoted reading. The week is much like a pep rally for improving reading skills.”
“We appreciate the excellent staff we have here at Southern,” said K-3 Principal Tricia McNickle. “Working together is what made this work for the kids. We would also like to thank all of the guest readers and all the volunteers that helped us throughout the week. It was a first-class effort all the way around.”
All readers had to begin the week by taking the “Reader’s Oath” to do their best and improve their reading skills. Students pledged to read every night of the week.
Monday was “Hat Day” in honor of the Dr. Seuss book, “The Cat in the Hat.” Guest readers came to classrooms and gave their personalized renditions of the importance of reading and “reading well.” Guest readers came to the school each day of the week.
In addition to all of the reading enrichment in the classroom, 2 p.m. was designated each day as “Drop Everything and Read” time.
Tuesday, students celebrated “Crazy Sock Day” by wearing some wild footwear much in line with the Dr. Seuss theme. Wednesday was “Wacky Wednesday,” where students and staff wore crazy clothes. Thursday was Green Eggs and Ham Day, where students wore as much green as possible, and Friday was Pajama Day in regards to the book, “The Sleep Book.” Along that same theme was a “Read In” for the younger students with a ‘snuggle up and read sub-theme.
“The kids really looked forward to this week and they hate to see it end,” McNickle said. “We had a couple classes ask if we can do it again next week. It’s great to see them so excited about something that ultimately is the foundation for their success — reading.
Volunteers manned a book fair where students were able to purchase their favorite books. Books contained leveled books and books with Accelerated Reader titles.