Saturday, March 02, 2013

Sharing the Joy of Reading Through Read Across America

Friday, March 1, 2013 was Read Across America Day at the local public elementary schools in the City of Redlands. Honoring Dr. Seuss's birthday (March 2nd), schools and parent groups across the nation celebrated the joys of reading, books, and literacy by organizing story times, pajama parties, and special breakfasts.

My Friends by Taro Gomi
I and the Armacost Library faculty had been invited to participate in Read Across America activities at Lugonia Elementary School. I signed up to read to preschoolers and kindergarteners at Lugonia Elementary and planned to read to my child's fifth grade class at Franklin Elementary School. This is just one small example of how Armacost Library and the University of Redlands provide value and positive impact to the larger community of the City of Redlands and its members.

The first Lugonia Elementary class I read to was a group of preschoolers, which had about 20 students. I read Taro Gomi's My Friends. The story was of a little girl who learns about the world around her and how to do things from her different friends, who were mostly animals. The little girl in the story did not have a name, so I asked the children to choose one for her. We decided to call the little girl Edna. Aside from the animals she called her friends, Edna named books, other children, and her teachers as her friends. Many of the children were surprised to hear that books and teachers were friends, too. I left the students in the classroom with the thought that we make friends with books when we read them. As a librarian, I hold this truth near and dear to my life's work and purpose.

Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook by Michael Garland
Next up on my schedule was the kindergarten class at Lugonia Elementary, which also had about 20 children, about the same size as the preschool class. To the kindergarteners, I read Michael Garland's Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook. It is a favorite in my household. The book was the story of a second-grade teacher, Miss Smith, who had a fabulous storybook from which characters leaped out of the pages whenever a story is read. The kindergarten class was enthralled by the story and the illustrations in the picture book. Who wouldn't enjoy the magic of books, stories, and beautifully drawn and colored pictures, right?

From the kindergarten class at Lugonia Elementary, I made my way to Franklin Elementary School and my younger daughter's fifth grade classroom. At my daughter's request, I re-read Michael Garland's Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook. There were about 33 children in the class. They seemed to enjoy the story as much as the kindergarten class at Lugonia Elementary did.

It's a Book by Lane Smith
My fifth-grade child, too, wanted to share her own love for books and reading during Read Across America Day. She brought Lane Smith's It's a Book to her class so her teacher could read it out loud. Smith's picture book is a wonderful read and is available for check-out at Armacost Library.

Please join the Armacost Library in celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday and NEA's Read Across America during the first two weeks of March (March 4-15, 2013).  Simply grab and read a beloved Dr. Seuss tale or other adored children's book displayed near our One-Stop Desk and reading areas on the 2nd floor of the Armacost Library and celebrate the joy of reading!

Each juvenile collection book we have displayed will have a small marker within its pages. If you enjoyed the book, let us know by placing the marker in the designated box at the One-Stop Desk.

Need more information? Contact Melissa Cardenas-Dow, Outreach Librarian, at x8089 or or Sally Romero, Instruction and Reference Librarian, at x8904 or

Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow
Outreach/Behavioral Sciences Librarian
Armacost Library, University of Redlands

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