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Page Turner Schools Dive In To Reading
In classrooms throughout the Escalon Unified School District, there was plenty of page turning going on.

Several classes observed the 'Read Across America' day on Friday, March 4 in honor of the birthday of 'Dr. Seuss' and spent the day being read to by others, reading to someone, or doing some silent reading on their own.

Kindergarten students at Dent Elementary enjoyed listening to 'Thing 1' and 'Thing 2' - high school students Taylor LaRossa and Kaitlyn Konecny in costume - read 'The Cat in the Hat' story by Dr. Seuss that features the characters they were portraying.

Members of the PIT, Peer Interaction Team, from Escalon High looked over the vast selection of books available to them to choose from as they prepared to go into classrooms at Dent. Some books evoked memories of stories they enjoyed when they were young, often picking ones they were familiar with to share with their younger counterparts.

"This is really a neat thing," said teacher Sylvia Gilham at Farmington Elementary, after a pair of fifth graders, dressed as cats in the hat, finished reading to her kindergarten class.

Her students are partnered with fifth grade 'buddies' for reading on a regular basis and she said it instills the importance of reading very early on for the young students.

"Parents are sharing their favorite books, ones they used to read, now they're reading them to their kids," Gilham added of getting the community involved.

Many classes at Farmington chose to use Friday as a pajama day, with students encouraged to bring a blanket, pillow, and stuffed animal from home along with their favorite books to settle in and spend the day reading.

Along with being read to, some classes also watched videos of stories made famous first through books, then adapted for the screen.

At Dent for LaRossa and Konecny, the day offered a chance to dress up for a good cause.

"It's cute seeing their reactions," Konecny said of the bright red outfit and shocking blue hair that characterizes Thing 1 and Thing 2.

"It's fun," agreed LaRossa, who said the two were planning to read to several classes on Friday.

Volunteers from groups ranging from the Lions Club to Kiwanis members, business people, parents, emergency services personnel, the list of guest readers included many from the community. Some brought their own books and offered their personal favorites, sharing them with many different class levels.

PIT advisor Kayla Kootstra said there were 18 students from that campus organization making the trip to Dent to read to the elementary kids. A few others that would have been there were busy with sports and FFA commitments, but she was pleased with the number she did have available.

"It just encourages reading in general and when they're (students) little, it's so important and in that way, it's good to have the high school kids come in," Kootstra said. "It's a fun experience for both sides."