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Dr. Seuss celebrated on Read Across America Day
On Friday, kindergarten and first-grade students at Pecan Grove Elementary School listened intently as adults from the community read them such books as “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” in a coordinated effort through the National Education Association to promote literacy.
Representatives from United Way of Yuma County, as well as people from around the community, joined to read to children as part of a nationwide initiative in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday and Read Across America Day.
“There are many studies that show that children who are exposed to reading at an early age are more likely to be ready when they enter school and will develop a love for reading,” said Yolanda Renteria, director of community impact at UWYC. “I think it's important for children to have that exposure that they might not have otherwise at home.”
While many of the students were familiar with the Dr. Seuss titles read to them on Friday, Renteria said events like this help with the reinforcement that reading can be fun.
“It helps them tie reading in with something that's fun and not something they have to do.”
Renteria encouraged parents to take time to read with their children, even for a short period.
“We find a lot of the time parents usually come home from work and they're really tired, but even if it's 15 minutes, just bonding with your child by reading, doing activities that make learning fun, it allows them to feel better about learning overall.”
Pecan Grove Principal Jorge Zepeda said they encourage students to apply the skills they learn to go on and become productive citizens of society. “We tell the students that they need to be better readers because they're the ones that are going to replace us.”
Karina Jones, UWYC's resource development and marketing director, said their organization hoped to have a presence in all schools in Yuma County for the literary event by recruiting more people from the community to come in and read to more students.
She said UWYC has implemented programs like Dolly Parton Imagination Library and Read On Yuma that encourage children across the county to develop a love of reading at an early age.
Through the Imagination Library, free books are sent to more than 1,000 children each month. The program provides free books to children up to 5 years old at their homes. Parents can call United Way of Yuma County to sign up at 783-0515.
Jones said they are always looking for people to support the Imagination Library as well by donating $2 a month to send a book to a child. “So if someone donates $24 or $48, they get to fund one or two students for a year.”
With the Read On Yuma program, UWYC is focusing on strategies to make sure that children are reading at grade level.
“Read On Yuma seeks to further the planning needed to ensure that children read at grade level or higher by third grade,” stated UWYC. “The project will focus on improving literacy and language acquisition for children in early childhood programs linking to aligning with kindergarten and grades first through third.”
Sarah Womer can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.