Battle Grove Elementary students celebrate reading
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 12:04

Event marks Read Across America Day

by Nicole Rodman

    For generations, schoolchildren across the globe have learned to read with a little help from Theodore Seuss Geisel — better known as Dr. Seuss.
    Born on March 2, 1904, Dr. Seuss published 46 children’s books during his long career.
    Seuss’ books — characterized by simple words, catchy rhymes and colorful characters — were a welcome antidote to the dull “Dick and Jane” reading primers of the day.
    In 1997, the National Education Association decided to mark Dr. Seuss’ birthday with a new celebration – Read Across America Day.
    Each year, the event is celebrated at schools across the country on the school day closest to March 2.
    At Battle Grove Elementary School, students and staff got into the reading spirit during their celebration of Read Across America Day on Feb. 28.
    Read Across America Day was officially set for Monday, March 3, but, with standardized testing set to begin (and, later, postponed due to snow), the school marked the day early.

This year, Battle Grove decided to tie its celebration of reading into the school system’s new emphasis on college and career-ready education by inviting local professionals to come read to students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
    “This year at Battle Grove Elementary, we have decided to invite people who are leaders in their field of work to come in and read to students,” Battle Grove principal Jennifer Gounaris noted. “This shows our students how very important reading is to their future.”
    The event — dubbed “Readers are Leaders” — featured professionals from a wide variety of fields, from a fisherwoman to a contractor to a nurse.
    Also on hand to read to students was Baltimore Ravens’ public relations director Chad Steele.
    Steele answered questions and read to students in the school’s Reading Oasis room.
    The Reading Oasis was donated to the school by former Ravens’ player Matt Birk when he announced his retirement at Battle Grove last February.
    Much to the delight of both students and teachers, Steele also showed off the ring he received when the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012.
    Other readers included Krystle Dukes, owner of Hair Kandy salon on North Point Road, and David Tart, a radio disc jockey for MIX 106.5.
    According to reading specialist Jennifer Duftler, the adult readers were mostly friends and family of Battle Grove teachers and students.
    “We’re really lucky with the variety of people we’ve been able to have come in,” Duftler noted.
    The Maryland State Department of Education and the governor’s office are also celebrating reading statewide with the Read Across Maryland program.
    As part of Read Across Maryland, students across the state will be encouraged to read for 30 minutes a day for 30 days — from March 2 to March 31.
    For more on Read Across Maryland, visit www.readacrossmary