‘Read Across America’ draws 60 ‘guest readers’ to Caloosa Elementary
By MEGHAN McCOY
As part of Read Across America Day, more than 60 guest readers from the community traveled to Caloosa Elementary School Thursday to read to the students throughout the day.
Caloosa Elementary School Assistant Principal Diana Lawry said every classroom had a guest reader and some of the classrooms even had two readers because some volunteers decided to read to more than one classroom.
The guest reader could either bring a book from home or choose from a table full of books once they arrived at the school.
Mark Castellano, president of the teacher’s association, was one of the guest speakers who read “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” to both of the classrooms he visited Thursday morning.
“It is one of the fun things of my job,” he said why he enjoys reading to the students.
After Lawry brought Castellano into Lisa Pilgrim’s kindergarten class Thursday morning she could not hide her excitement of having more than one guest reader visit her class that day.
Pilgrim said after her first reader, a resource officer at a middle school, she put in a request for another guest.
“It’s good for the children to get other adults to read to them,” she said, because it familiarizes the children with other adults and what their profession is when they come into the classroom.
Pilgrim said she enjoyed the week-long event schedule because she liked seeing the children’s enjoyment of the different activities.
“When you see the kids get the enjoyment out of it, it makes it worthwhile,” she said. “We are thankful so many people came out to read.”
Oakland Raiders rookie cornerback Jeremy Ware also paid a visit to Caloosa Elementary school Thursday to read to a third grade class.
He said he enjoyed reading to them because he likes to “see them smile and laugh at the books.”
Lawry said they decided to hold a week full of events for the children early, so they could fit in all the festivities before the writing assessment portion of the FCAT begins in March.
The National Education Association Read Across America Day, now in its 13th year, is held every year on Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2 to help motivate children to read.
On Monday, the elementary students wore their crazy socks for “Fox in Socks” day; the students wore green shirts for the “Grinch Green Day” on Tuesday; Wednesday the students had the opportunity to wear crazy hats for “The Cat in the Hat” day and on Thursday, students wore their craziest hair style or wigs for “Whoville Hair Day.”
A book exchange was also held during the week. Students brought in a book from home that they were no longer interested in or have already read to exchange it for another book brought in from home.
Lawry said this is the first year they held the event at Caloosa.
“The teachers are loving it and having a lot of fun,” she said.
April Ketron, primary specialist at Caloosa Elementary helped Lawry in planning the event by reaching out to the community and communicating their need for readers.
“It takes a village,” she said to put on an event like Thursday’s. “I really appreciate everyone’s support from the community … it makes it really special for the kids.”
Ketron said the week-long program was “something to excite the children and give them the love of reading.”
“It’s a real motivator for the children to read,” she said.
Robin Marrero, fourth and fifth grade co-teacher, said the week-long celebration is amazing for the students, adding that she feels that it might even take away some of the pressure from the FCAT for a little bit.
When asked what was her favorite event, Marrero said “today” because it meant a lot to have “the community come and support our school and reading.”
In addition to the various activities for the students, the teachers also got involved in a door decorating contest. Lawry said they only had three or four teachers who did not participate in the contest.
Caloosa staff choose the top six doors for the guest speakers to vote on when they left the school on Thursday. The top three will receive a gift certificate.