Area schools will celebrate the joy of reading during special activities this week to mark the National Education Association's Read Across America initiative.
Created as a one-day event celebrated March 2 - Dr. Seuss' birthday - the NEA program, now in its eighth year, has grown into a nationwide initiative that promotes reading every day, according to the NEA's Web site.
Lewiston Elementary School plans to read 300 Dr. Seuss books Thursday in honor of the event, said Dr. Mike Doolittle, principal.
"We will have some students and teachers dressed in character for the readings throughout the day," he said.
Additionally, Riverside Elementary School is acting as host for a similar event. Among those helping the school celebrate their event, also on Thursday, are Columbia County School Superintendent Tommy Price, Associate Superintendent Dr. Lauren Williams, Riverside Principal Robert Jarrell, Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle, Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross, Columbia County School Board Chairman Wayne Bridges and board member Mike Sleeper, Columbia County News-Times Publisher Barry Paschal, Columbia County Emergency Management Director Pam Tucker, and parent volunteer Mike Fulford.
"We believe cultivating, in children, a passion for lifelong reading is a significant aspect of our mission at Riverside Elementary School," said Melissa Britton, a media specialist at Riverside Elementary. "For students to see their local leaders and heroes reading exposes them to the joy of reading through other book lovers. Successful reading comes from the efforts of community involvement as well as family participation and support regarding literacy."
According to the NEA Web site, "research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school."
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