The places you’ll go: RSS celebrates Seuss’s birthday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 3, 2016

By Rebecca Rider

SALISBURY — Author, artist, word wrangler and imaginarian Dr. Seuss would have turned 112 yesterday. His colorful stories and unique writing style have stuck with kids for generations, West Rowan Middle Media Center Coordinator Emily Shue said. Even as kids age, the memory of his books stick with them.

“There’s a memory tied to Dr. Seuss for almost every single student,” she said.

In honor of Seuss’s birthday, schools across the country are celebrating “Read Across America” day. In Rowan-Salisbury, it’s been a week-long celebration that invites kids to wear crazy socks, put on a red top hat, dream of the places they’ll go and “drop everything . . . and read.”

“Today is the day to celebrate the joy of reading,” Shue said.

And across the district, pages were turning as schools had guest readers, class reading time and book giveaways.

“There’s pretty much an expectation that they do something . . . everyone has the freedom to do whatever they choose,” Kelly Feimster, director of instructional programs said.

At Bostian Elementary, third graders were invited to join a live stream where author Peter Reynolds read aloud his newest book, “Going Places.”

“Going Places” is about a young girl who builds a car without looking at the instruction manual, and uses it to win a race.

“It was a nice message for the kids to learn about creativity and making things,” Media Center Coordinator Jennifer Roberson said.

During the 40-minute live stream, Bostian Elementary students were able to tweet Reynolds questions, and see constantly-updating Twitter feed full of photos from other schools tuning in across the country and around the world.

At West Rowan Middle, students spent the previous week collecting gently used books for a book exchange, which ran in the library all day Wednesday. Fueled by the fire of competition and the promise of an ice-cream party to the homeroom that brought in the most books, students collected nearly 700 books.

Throughout the day Wednesday, West Rowan Middle’s 649 students trickled through the media center, picking out “new to them” books. Each student was allowed to select at least one, and Shue says the remaining volumes will go to classroom libraries, or may be handed out to students who want them.

Students came in “big and small” all day, Shue said – from an individual swinging by on the way back from lunch to entire classes. At one point, Shue said, she had four classes – nearly 100 students – chattering excitedly over the display of pages.

“It was noisy,” she said, “but it was a good noise.”

Students have been excited for new books and the adventures they bring, and Shue said she’s heard more than one pair of students agreeing to exchange books again after they’ve read them. For Shue, Read Across America Day just confirms something she’s always known.

“It always makes me laugh when people say kids don’t read anymore, because my library cart says otherwise — it is never, ever clear,” she said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.