Young readers inspired by tip of hat from Dr. Seuss

From left, Burley-Glenwood Elementary School twin kindergartners Adrianna and Brianna Farmer read together during last week’s Dr. Seuss Event. - Chris Chancellor/Staff Photo
From left, Burley-Glenwood Elementary School twin kindergartners Adrianna and Brianna Farmer read together during last week’s Dr. Seuss Event.
— image credit: Chris Chancellor/Staff Photo

They danced around on the stage, faces painted white and donning blue wigs.

While “THING 1” and “THING 2” kept the annual Dr. Seuss Event lighthearted last week at Burley-Glenwood Elementary School, the activity had a serious undertone.

“It gets our community to come together and have fun,” said Carol Sears, a Title I instructional specialist teacher at the school.

Burley-Glenwood principal Darek Grant said that was an important element in drawing a crowd he estimates averages 300 to 400 participants each year. Now that the event that celebrates Dr. Seuss birthday — March 2 — is 7 years old, it draws junior-high students who attended the school. He notices that parents are more at ease at the activity, as well.

“They didn’t feel like they had to come in and do a lot other than just be here,” Grant said. “What you find is they’ll stick around and read books with kids.”

Amber Byrd, 18, who brought her younger sisters to the event, shared similar sentiments.

“I think it’s a great experience,” she said. “The more family support reading, the more they’re into it.”

Burley-Glenwood has a few different events during the first week of March to honor Dr. Seuss, who published 46 children’s books, including bestsellers such as “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat” before his death at age 87 in 1991. Along with the Dr. Seuss Event, Burley-Glenwood also invited public officials, including police officers and firefighters, to read to students on his birthday.

“What we’re seeing is the students of Burley-Glenwood love to read,” Grant said. “We have various incentive programs that we do throughout the day, but I think this is one that gets them most excited about reading.”

Sears said the school’s staff members and its PTSO also donated books to students during the event. Burley-Glenwood librarian Christina Lund said the PTSO donated about 100 books, while teachers at the school contributed roughly 250 more.

Grant said the event also ties into Burley-Glenwood’s school improvement plan. Burley-Glenwood was recognized in October by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction as both a highest performing and high progress “reward school.”

Schools that receive or are eligible for Title I funding for students are considered for that status based on the levels of student achievement. Burley-Glenwood was among only 12 elementary schools in the state to earn that distinction.

Robin Ragsdale said the school’s emphasis on improvement through activities such as the Dr. Seuss Event are noticeable when classes begin in September.

“Being a sixth-grade teacher since we have put the focus on reading and math, I’m finding I have fewer kids below grade level when they get to me because it has been one of the things we have put into place,” she said. “It has been great.”


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