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Page Turner - Read Across America
Read 1
The Cat in the Hat, also known as librarian Linda Dusi, right, shares a favorite Dr. Seuss story with second graders at Farmington Elementary while Thing 1 (Sara Jane Kromann) looks on. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

As they have for many years in the past, local school students put more emphasis on reading for the day on Friday, March 1.

It was the annual ‘Read Across America’ day, in honor of the birthday of Dr. Seuss, and on school campuses throughout the Escalon Unified School District, there were plenty of sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, even some pajamas, as kids settled in for a day filled with the printed word.

While there was other learning as well, the main focus for the day was on reading, with students encouraged to continue reading books to learn as well as for fun.

At Farmington Elementary on Friday afternoon, the Cat in the Hat, accompanied by Thing 1, made the rounds of the classrooms to share some favorite Dr. Seuss stories. Portraying the Cat in the Hat was librarian/after school program coordinator Maria Dusi and Thing 1 was her after-school volunteer, Sara Jane Kromann.

Second grade teacher Linda Dutra said her classroom had about a half dozen ‘guest readers’ throughout the day, coming to read to students.

“It shows them how reading can be fun, enjoyable and knowledgeable,” Dutra said of why she enjoys having her students participate in the special Read Across America program.

Older students from the high school were among those turning out to read to classes at Dent Elementary, along with a variety of community volunteers. All campuses had some type of activity to mark the day, whether it was at the elementary, middle or high school level.

Pages were turning in all classrooms and making a return visit to Farmington was Doug Gilham, son of teacher Sylvia Gilham. The college sophomore had little dog Schnitzel in tow as he read to the students, who were as interested in the dog as they were in the story. The kindergarten and first grade students welcomed a dozen guest readers into their classroom on Friday.

“It encourages our love for reading and books,” teacher Gilham said, enthusiastic about the day.

Many of the classes also have awards for levels of reading, keeping the students motivated about being in the books throughout the school year, not just on the Read Across America day.