Sam I Am (Shelby Larson) reads to Kingsland Elementary School students during Read Across America, an annual literacy event during which the school celebrates Dr. Seuss's birthday.
Sam I Am (Shelby Larson) reads to Kingsland Elementary School students during Read Across America, an annual literacy event during which the school celebrates Dr. Seuss's birthday.
73,147.

That's a lot of pages, Sam I Am.

"In just a week our students in preschool through third grade read a total of 73,147 pages!" exclaimed Kingsland's literacy tutor Morgan Zimmer, recounting the events of the past week, March 2 through 7, as Kingsland Elementary marked Read Across America.

Read Across America is an annual nationwide reading celebration that takes place on Dr. Seuss's birthday, March 2. Kingsland held literacy activities that day and throughout the rest of the week, welcoming guest readers, dining on Seuss-ian breakfasts and holding read-athons.

"This year, we amped up the students by having different activities throughout the week, and the theme for our week was 'Dr. Seuss.' Preschool to third grade participated, as well as SACC," said Zimmer. "Each day, we had a different theme from a book - Monday, we had 'The Cat in the Hat,' Tuesday was 'The Lorax,' Wednesday was 'Horton Hears a Who,' Thursday was 'Green Eggs and Ham,' and Friday was 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas.'

"The students loved the themes, and many got into the spirit! We even had a 'Green Eggs and Ham' inspired breakfast on Thursday, and on Thursday afternoon, we had a book parade where each class got to walk through the hallway, with the students holding and showing off their favorite book. It sparks curiosity among friends and classmates as to if that is a good book, and the students want to go read to find out if it is or isn't a good book.

"Throughout the week we had several guest readers, including the local Kiwanis as well as our local heroes. We had several EMTs, cops and firefighters come in and read to the students. We also had special visits from Cat in the Hat, Sam I Am and the Lorax. The kids really enjoyed finding out who was coming in to read each day."

Students were given a reading challenge to work on in their classrooms, and they were certainly up to meeting it. The winning class for the reading challenge was Tara Holmen's first grade class, reading almost 15,000 pages in just one week.

"Congratulations to them," said Zimmer. "They are some pretty great readers, as are all of our students!"

Zimmer worked with the teaching and administrative staff to plan guest readers' classroom visits. To get ready for the week, there was a lot of planning and behind the scenes work and meetings with Principal Chris Priebe and reading specialist Jennifer Campbell. They had to figure out what days worked for each theme, the list and schedule of the volunteer readers, and the time for the book parade, as well as having a reading challenge all week and getting that into play."

"I enjoyed organizing an event like this because of the smiles and excitement that it brings," she said. "Being a literacy tutor, I want to promote literacy, but when it comes with so much happiness and excitement from the kids and staff, it makes all the hard work and stress that much more worth it."

The tutor explained that she feels that Read Across America does make a difference in students' literacy.

"Read Across America is an important event because there are a lot of kids who fall behind when it comes to literacy. This event helps get that knowledge out there to families and makes kids interested in reading," she said. "I think the kids enjoyed the entire week, but I did get a lot of compliments on the different characters coming in to read and visit. If there was one thing that I would want parents to know about the week, it would be that the kids had a blast, and to keep reading at home with your children - it won't be long and they won't want you to read to them anymore. My hope was to get kids more interested in reading and to promote a positive attitude about reading. This year, we made Read Across America fun by the different activities and visitors, but it is always fun to read!"