Celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America Day, Santa Clarita Valley schools welcomed guest speakers to share their love of reading with students Friday.
The nation’s largest reading celebration was kicked off at Fair Oaks Community School with an assembly where sixth-grader Maddie Rafter was awarded the inaugural Dr. Suess Reading Award, which came with a $100 Barnes & Noble gift card, courtesy of Kohls.
More than 460 Fair Oaks students met their accelerated reading goals last semester, Principal Marie Stump said.
“We bring celebrity guests, such as actors, athletes, politicians and even FBI agents, to share their love of reading with the students,” said teacher Ken Newton, who has coordinated the program for more than a decade. “The actual event was started in 1997. We’ve had 35 readers today.”
Local residents and SCVTV staffers Dave Caldwell, who’s the station’s sports director, production specialist Austin Dave and Production Manager Megan Perez also read their favorite Dr. Seuss books to a group of first- and second-graders.
In the last three years, Maddie has earned more than 600 accelerated reader (AR) points, totaling more than 6 million words.
Teacher Ken Newton said he and the librarian have lost count of how many books Maddie has read.
“She was a very early reader, so we always knew that reading was going to be something that she was going to take off with, said Rosemarie Rafter, Maddie’s mother. “I buy a book a day, we really do. Whether it’s on her Kindle or her iPad. We check books out at our library. She reads a book a day.”
During his lifetime, Dr. Seuss published more than 60 children’s books. Friday would have been the author’s 109th birthday. He died Sept. 24, 1991.
“I read for about five hours every day, and more on the weekend,” Maddie said, adding her favorite Dr. Seuss book was “Green Eggs and Ham.”