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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Read Across America Day celebrated at Saratoga Independent School

My first book of the day was this Dr. Seuss classic.
Photo by Erica Miller,

I spent this morning at the Saratoga Independent School as one of many community volunteers who responded to their call to participate in their annual “Read-In.”
What fun.
The school set us up in various rooms, nooks and crannies of their lovely building out Lake Avenue and assigned us a handful or two of children. The kids were so wonderfully well-behaved, responsive and interested. We’d read a book, then the organizers would change groupings.
Officer Shane Crooks
holds kids' attention
Photo by Erica Miller,
The invitation to participate came last month as part of the school’s participation in “Read Across America Day” and the birthday of Dr. Seuss. “I invite you to put aside the hat you wear for work and play and don the ultimate reading hat, the red and white striped stovepipe made famous by the ‘Cat in the Hat,’” wrote Felice Karlitz, the school director.
They really did have a bunch of blow-up Cat in the Hat hats. With my first group, to whom I read “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,” the kids and I took turns wearing the hat. I don’t mind that it wasn’t on my head when photographer Erica Miller caught us in action.
Parent Taryn Manuele reads "Madeline"
Photo by Erica Miller,
I meant to bring one of my favorite kids’ books, “The Story of Ferdinand,” or anything by Bill Peet, but it didn’t matter. The school was loaded with books and the children had no problem selecting from them. In one of my groups, each child who wished to got to read a page. In another, one little girl was in charge of turning the pages. In each group, the children were polite and friendly.
Kendall Olszowka looks
great in a Cat in the Hat hat.
Photo by Erica Miller,
The reading made me momentarily misty over the days when my sons would snuggle up for bedtime readings (though sometimes I’d fall asleep before them, book open). But mostly it made me happy to see that the love for reading and excitement over well-written and well-drawn books is alive and well. My applause to SIS and other schools that encourage adults to share with children the joy of reading.


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