LUMBERTON — Students at W.H Knuckles Elementary School joined students from other schools throughout Robeson County and across the country Thursday in celebrating the 113th birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to all the world, young and old alike, as Dr. Seuss.
Joining the local celebration of the famed children’s author whose use of catchy rhyme inspired reading was the governor’s wife, who had a session at Knuckles, picked because of all the damage it suffered during Hurricane Matthew.
The says is held each year in recognition of the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day.
“This is the NEA’s signature event,” said Mark Jewell, a fifth-grade teacher in Guilford County who is now serving his first year as the president of the state’s association of educators. “It recognizes Dr. Seuss’ love for reading and his love for children.”
Scores of volunteers spread out across Robeson County to read Seuss books to students at the district’s 23 elementary schools. At Knuckles, they included Kristin Cooper, the wife of Gov. Roy Cooper; Jewell; Dee Grissett, president of the Robeson County Association of Educators; and superheroes Captain America, Wonder Woman and Batman. Also on hand was the Cat in the Hat, one of Dr. Seuss’ most recognizable and beloved characters.
The National Association of Educators has sponsored Read Across America Day for 19 years. On this special day, people of all ages are urged to read.
Cooper, a mother of three, said she enjoys reading books to young people, something she did often when her children were young.
“Actually they enjoyed their father reading to them more then me,” she said. “He did more with the voices and is more animated than I am,”
Cooper emphasized the importance of knowing how to read as a way of making it in life.
“I’ll be glad to come back to Robeson County and read to the students again if I’m asked,” she said.
All of the readers used their appearance in the classrooms to encourage students to read.
“After reading to the students, Batman would have a conversation with them,” said Grissett, RCAE president and career and technical education coordinator for the Public Schools of Robeson County. “He talked to them about healthy eating, exercise and how important reading is. He also told them how important it is to be respectful.”
Eric Sanders, principal at Knuckles, said students learn a lot from this annual event.
“With the rhyming words and rhythm of books by Dr. Seuss, the children grab onto it,” he said. “This encourages them to read.”
According to the NEA, more than 45 million readers of all ages were expected to read a book on Read Across America Day. In Robeson County, the celebration of Dr. Seuss has lasted since Monday. It has involved students and teachers taking part in parades, skits and songs. Also, rooms have been decorated with artwork developed based on the characters and ideas depicted in Dr. Seuss books.
bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.