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Burley-Glenwood students enjoy reading, Dr. Seuss

South Kitsap resident Rick Soper reads with his kids, Liam, a Burley-Glenwood kindergartner, and Isabella, who is in preschool.   - Kenny Gatlin Photo
South Kitsap resident Rick Soper reads with his kids, Liam, a Burley-Glenwood kindergartner, and Isabella, who is in preschool.
— image credit: Kenny Gatlin Photo

It wasn’t the typical parent night at Burley-Glenwood Elementary, but Dr. Seuss isn’t a typical children’s author.

On Thursday evening the school dedicated an event to the late author, born March 2, 1904, and known for creating characters such as the Cat In The Hat, Yertle the Turtle and the Lorax — and what better way to celebrate Seuss than to sit down and read?

The school scheduled several reading events around the campus, with puppet shows and group reading, but many parents just tucked themselves into a corner with a good book, and piled the kids up on their lap.

“The intent of the evening was an informal way of getting parents in here with kids and come have a fun family night of reading,” Principal Darek Grant said.

The dinner-hour event included a pizza dinner and a variety of activities.

“We try to make it as easy as possible for families,” Grant said. “We find if we have pizza, people come.”

The read-a-thon coincides with the school’s Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) program, in which educators encourage parents to dedicate 20 minutes of their day to reading with kids.

“We emphasize to the parents the importance of reading and how easy it is to sit down and read with your child 20 minutes is all it takes,” Grant said.

He cited research that says 20 minutes of reading every day helps a child’s cognitive development.

On a day-to-day basis, the Title I school emphasizes math and reading with 90 minutes of uninterrupted class time a day dedicated to each.

“We’re being really intentional about reading,” Grant said.

But in the spirit of Dr. Seuss, the evening required a little whimsy.

Grant and Assistant Superintendent Dave LaRose kicked off the evening with a reading of “The Cat In The Hat.”

LaRose came dressed as The Cat In The Hat, and Grant dressed as Thing 1.

Grant said more than 200 parents and students came to the event, made up of mostly first- through third-graders.

In future years he hopes to add other activities to draw in the fourth- through sixth-graders.

He thinks an information session on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) might draw in parents of the older students.

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