Dr. Seuss celebration promotes pleasure reading

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Dr. Seuss celebration promotes pleasure reading

Seeing 
double-- Assistant Principal Curt Pandiscio (left) and Principal Bill Silva (right) greet students in the morning in Thing 1 and Thing 2 attire.

Seeing double-- Assistant Principal Curt Pandiscio (left) and Principal Bill Silva (right) greet students in the morning in Thing 1 and Thing 2 attire.

Kristy Pan

Seeing double-- Assistant Principal Curt Pandiscio (left) and Principal Bill Silva (right) greet students in the morning in Thing 1 and Thing 2 attire.

Kristy Pan

Kristy Pan

Seeing double-- Assistant Principal Curt Pandiscio (left) and Principal Bill Silva (right) greet students in the morning in Thing 1 and Thing 2 attire.

Annabelle Lee, Managing Editor

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   Childhood reading made a comeback during Dr. Seuss Week from February 29 through March 4. The celebration of the classic children’s author was hosted by the Book Lovers Club, an interdepartmental group of teachers and administrative members hoping to increase and highlight reading amongst students.

   “We wanted to just begin the conversation with students and faculty to think about reading. We thought, a lot of us loved reading as little kids or being read to, so we sort of thought to just remind kids of what that felt like for some, if not all of them,” Library, Media and Technology K-12 Department Leader Burr said.

   Burr and the other teachers in the Book Lovers Club organized a school wide scavenger hunt for images of Seuss characters, with clues being shared over the intercom during the morning pledge.

   Students and faculty were encouraged to take selfies with the characters they found, and then tweet it @FHSBookLovers with the hashtag #FindSeuss. Those who tweeted were eligible for a random drawing for a Barnes & Noble gift card. According to literacy coach Jessica Tolles, the hope was for students to gain exposure to the group’s account and start interacting with it.

   “We put up a lot of good resources on [our Twitter account], and I think a lot of kids think, ‘Why would I want to follow a group of teachers?’ So we wanted to get kids to see when we’re posting good resources or if an author is coming or if there are upcoming events, without using something like Remind 101,” Tolles said.

   According to Burr, the hope was for students to be reminded of pleasure reading that many used to enjoy before having the various responsibilities of being a student.

   Connect on March 4 was extended to conclude Dr. Seuss Week. Connect coaches were able to bring in a favorite children’s book – many of them works of Seuss – and read aloud to their Connect groups.

   “It was a fun throwback to my childhood. I really loved reading those books as a kid,” sophomore Kate Gregory said.

   Many teachers felt that reading aloud was a welcome break from academic reading, and experienced nostalgia alongside their students.

   “It was very nice to be able to share one of my favorite childhood books and hear the types of books the seniors enjoyed reading while growing up,” math teacher Andrew DeSimone said.

   According to Tolles, the Connect session also posed a slight challenge, however, she noted that there was positive feedback afterwards.

   “[One challenge was] getting teachers to buy in to taking Dr. Seuss to a high school level [and that even though] it was elementary in nature, it’s really about bringing the joy back to reading. So just to get everybody on board to be positive about it was a little bit of a challenge, but I think the more we do it, the better it’ll become,” she said.

   Book clubs dedicated to leisure reading have also grown during the year, thanks to the efforts of the Book Lovers and participating students. There are currently a few year-long groups that meet regularly, with additional genre-specific, single-session clubs in the works.

   “What we wanted to do was let students and teachers know we’re creating opportunities if you just want to meet once about a book you’re interested in, especially because sometimes you can’t commit to ongoing meetings,” Burr said.

   Moving forward, the Book Lovers are contemplating other ideas for celebrations and increasing recognition for reading. According to Burr, there is a lot of commitment to reading in the building, and they are hoping for increased student input for future years.

   She said, “I think if students just sort of enjoyed the experience and remembering the feeling of being read to, I think that’s enough. And for them to know that we’re a school who values reading. If some kids took that away, we’re good with that.”