Last week marked Dr. Seuss’s birthday and schools across the nation commemorated the author, his books, and books in general by participating in Read Across America, a program emphasizing reading motivation and celebration. At our local elementary schools, this means a succession of guest readers from various leadership positions in the community as well as other fun activities like a book fair and family reading night.
This year was my fourth (fifth?) time to be invited to participate as a guest reader, a privilege I always enjoy very much. As you know, I love to read, I loved reading aloud to my boys, and I love encouraging a similar love in others. Last Tuesday I read to a second grade class. As I walked in the front door of the primary school, I was greeted by a sweet fourth grader holding a sign that read “Looking for…Mrs. Lisa Spence,” just like I was somebody important or something (ha). As my assigned ambassador, she escorted me to the classroom where I would read and introduced me to the class, her introduction something along the lines of “This is Mrs. Spence. She has four boys in our schools. She is nice.” Who could ask for a better recommendation? I love it.
Guest readers have the option of choosing a book there at the school, and there were many options available, or bringing some titles from home. I took three picture books that my boys had enjoyed and that I had enjoyed reading to them: The Napping House, You are Special, and Harry the Dirty Dog. It’s always great fun to visit old book friends!
Thursday I was invited to read to my son’s sixth grade class. Once again I was met at the door by a school ambassador, this one being the cutest sixth grader at the school. He also happens to be my favorite sixth grader in the whole wide world! He introduced me to the class, his introduction concluding with “and she’s my mom,” an declaration made with only the faintest of a blush.
Sixth grade being a little more challenging crowd in terms of reading choices, I deliberated over my reading material, considering girlhood favorites like Anne of Green Gables or The Witch of Blackbird Pond, thinking that a few pages of a chapter book might be more respective of their age and ability than, say, a picture book about a clean dog who gets dirty and then clean again. I finally opted to read the first few pages of The Mysterious Benedict Society in the hopes that some of them may be inspired to read this wonderful book on their own. No one in the class admitted to having read it before so maybe they will!
I love Read Across America and the opportunity it grants me to visit the classrooms of our elementary schools and to share my love of reading. I also throughly enjoy rummaging through my bookshelves, remembering and revisiting favorite reads as I look for a book or two to share.