Westampton students celebrate reading

Holly Hills Elementary School had one “Seusstastic” week ahead of Read Across America Day, which fell on Saturday this year

Lisa Ryan/Burlington County Times

Original Article

WESTAMPTON — Holly Hills Elementary School had one “Seusstastic” week ahead of Read Across America Day, which fell on Saturday this year.

Students and staff had a literary-themed door decorating contest, a pajama day and a “Wacky Wednesday,” crafts, and guest readers galore during a Monday-to-Friday celebration.

“The whole week is basically about trying to impart to the kids a love of reading,” said kindergarten teacher Donna Yoerke. “And the easiest way to do that is through Dr. Seuss.”

Staff agreed on a Seuss theme because of the fun kids have with the author’s made-up words, rhymes and easily-understood stories.

On Friday, kids dressed as Harry Potter, Thing 1 and Thing 2, and other popular characters while listening intently as community leaders and emergency service members read Dr. Seuss’s stories aloud.

Brennan Peter, who wore several pigtails and an all-red outfit for her Thing 1 costume, said she was enjoying Read Across America.

“It’s fun,” the third-grader said. “Today was fun because we got to dress up.”

Her favorite book is Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat,” but she liked hearing “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,” from her class’ guest, too.

“It was a tongue twister,” she said, of the book’s appeal.

Even Holly Hills’ youngest students were attentive as guests read, at least until the Cat in the Hat bounded into the classroom. In full face makeup, kindergarten to third-grade enrichment teacher Megan Jedwabny played Seuss’s mischievous cat, high-fiving guest readers and making students laugh.

Her brother, Westampton Fire Department Chief Craig Farnsworth, was one of the day’s guest readers. Others included Assemblyman Ryan Peters, members of the Burlington County Board of Freeholders, and military and emergency services professionals.

Kindergarten teacher Cathy MacManiman said the visitors not only modeled an interest in reading for the students, but also sent a message about connection.

“I think it just tells them they’re important to the community, and people want to be here,” she said.

Patrolman Matt Nagle, of the Westampton Police Department, enjoyed reading to the students and answering their questions about his work.

“I really believe in education,” he said. “And this is my favorite part of my job ... interacting with the kids.”