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FUN-damentals Reading Celebration Hits Schools
Pages were turning throughout the Escalon Unified School District recently, in recognition of the birthday of Dr. Seuss and the Read Across America celebration.

Individual campuses marked the occasion in a variety of ways, from a fundraising readathon to a full day of guest readers donating time to share their favorite books.

Whether it was student volunteers from Escalon High service clubs or community residents stopping by, the Read Across America highlighted the importance of reading, for fun and information.

Dent Elementary teacher Carrie Nash, who hosted several guest readers on Friday, March 5, said her fourth grade students really enjoy it when high school students take time to come in and read.

"They look up to these kids, they are positive role models," she explained. "Parents and other guest readers encourage them to keep reading, it's fun and entertaining."

At Farmington Elementary, Read Across America was staged on Friday, Feb. 26 with visits to each classroom by The Cat in the Hat and at Collegeville, there was a readathon on Feb. 12, where students got pledges to spend a day reading. More than $800 was raised through the effort. The Cat in the Hat also put in an appearance at Collegeville.

Van Allen Elementary hosted a special event, Family Reading Night, on the actual anniversary of Dr. Seuss's birthday, March 2, and had a variety of activities in the school's multipurpose room.

Different events worked off the Dr. Seuss stories, said fourth grade teacher Leslie Latour.

Five stations were available, kids were encouraged to attend the Family Reading Night in their pajamas and there was a pizza party to kick off the evening.

"We played Twister to go along with The Foot Book, after Green Eggs and Ham they had to 'pin the eggs on the tray', like pin the tail on the donkey," Latour explained. "They also made a book based on The Things You See on Mulberry Street."

Van Allen officials said they were very pleased with the amount of participation from the parents and students, classifying the night as a success.

At Dent, volunteer coordinator Alex Barry said she estimated there were "at least 100" volunteer readers on the job Friday.

Every classroom had guest readers, with the program running from about 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

"I've been doing this for four years and you see a lot of the same parents and volunteers," Barry said. "It's nice."

Dent Principal Kendra Helsley, looking comfy in pajamas, robe and slippers, said the school provided cookie treats for readers, while Big Boy Market donated several cases of water for them.

"It's really a lot of fun," Helsley said.

Sophomore Josh Proch was guest reading for the first time as part of the program and said he was looking forward to it.

"I'm feeling excited, it'll be good to give back to the community," he said. "Plus it's promoting literacy."

Fellow reader, freshman Sierra Lionudakis, was eager to share with the younger students as well.

"I'm reading 'Corduroy' to them," she said. "It was my favorite book. It still is."