On March 2, students at Don Callejon School came to class in pajamas and cuddled with their stuffed animals as they listened to public figures and parent volunteers read books aloud. The school joined many others across the nation to celebrate Read Across America, held on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.
Gina Corsello, Kathleen Raffetto and Graham Young are fifth grade teachers who have been planning the school’s Read Across America day since October.
“It’s the first year that we’re doing a school–wide event like this,” Corsello says. “We wanted a comfortable environment so if there’s a break between readers, the kids can sit comfortably [in their pajamas] and either listen to a book or read books on their own.”
Raffetto credits the Don Callejon School Community Organization for purchasing books to give away to selected students.
“I created a Dr. Seuss themed quiz and we’re going to see what the kids know about Dr. Seuss; based on the answers, enthusiasm, and teacher recommendations, we’ll decide who gets a book,” Raffetto says. “[Our third team member], Graham, worked on community outreach.”
Brandi Chastain, Olympic and World Cup soccer champion, visited a few classrooms, including Alice Williams’s first grade class. With spirit, she read aloud “The Lorax” and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” After reading the Dr. Seuss books, Chastain answered questions and passed her prized Olympic gold medal around to students.
“‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’ is my ‘favoritest’ book,” says Chastain, currently a soccer coach. “It’s a story about how you want to strive for things, how you want to win, and sometimes you won’t. It’s a good lesson so next time you have a chance, you will know what you have to do to make it happen…[As a kid], I was into Dr. Seuss. I really enjoyed anything that was fun and whimsical. Reading is a discipline, and so is sports. Reading gave me a chance to focus.”
Other public figures who read at Don Callejon School included Sam Brock, Raj Mathai and Kris Sanchez. They are reporters and anchors for NBC Bay Area.
In Brenna Burnette’s kindergarten class, students shared what they enjoyed during their school’s Read Across America day.
“My mom came and she read ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,'” says Braxton, 5. “If the Grinch was yelling, my mom was yelling too.”
“My favorite part of today was having the hot cocoa and donuts,” says Saige, 6. “I also like the story about the egg that was read to me.”
Mia, 5, discussed the striped Dr. Seuss hats she and her classmates wore when readers came.
“Ms. Burnette gave us this hat and Ms. Priscilla helped us put it together,” she says. “I like Dr. Seuss because he makes me laugh, especially his ‘Cat in the Hat’ book.”