This year’s Read Across America Day was one for the books in Shelton.
The holiday for reading was created by the National Education Association in 1998 in an effort to celebrate reading. Its creators, who were a part of a task force at the N.E.A , decided that the perfect day to celebrate would be March, 2, which is also world known author Dr. Suess’s birthday.
Every state, city, or town that participates in the holiday celebrates it differently. In Shelton, each school celebrated the holiday in their own unique way.
The Shelton Intermediate School (SIS) began its day with words from Headmaster Ken Saranich who said he used to be a “reluctant reader” that never read for pleasure. Currently, Saranich said he’s reading four books at once and owes it all to the discovery of the well-known fantasy series, Harry Potter, which was recommended to him by one of his students.
“When I read this as a young adult it made me wonder of all the other good opportunities I’m missing,” said Saranich. “This book led me to the rest of the Harry Potter chain, which led to many other books, which led me to not being able to stop reading.”
Saranich invited a wide variety of community members to participate in the holiday and read to or share with a class, their own personal experience with reading.
The celebration was attended by members of the Board of Ed, local police, high school students and staff, as well as Mayor Mark Lauretti.
The Mayor said this was far from his first time participating in the event and took it upon himself to get SIS history teacher Scott Gura’s class involved by by taking turns reading a classic book by Dr. Suess called, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”
Before reading Mayor Lauretti had the students recall all of the different circumstances in which they read daily.
Board of Ed member and ex Long Hill Elementary School teacher, Kathy Yolish participated in activities at SIS and Elizabeth Shelton School for their celebrations. Yolish said that from her experience as a teacher and as a participant in the holiday, the bridge created by community members to connect with students has had a great impact.
Shelton Interim Police Chief Shawn Sequeira also attended SIS’s celebration of reading and the celebration over at Sunnyside Elementary School too. The chief and six other officers headed into Sunnyside with books, rulers and fake badges for the students. All of the officers read to the students and said they were excited to have the chance to spread the importance of reading with the youth.
Sequeira said he thinks the importance of getting children to read and reading to them is more important than ever. The Chief read a story called Officer Buckle & Gloria which the class said although they had read it before, it is one of their favorites.
At Elizabeth Shelton School (ESS)they celebrated Dr. Suess and reading the entire week. With days designated to wearing silly socks, dressing up as their favorite story characters, and bringing in their favorite stuffed animals, students got excited to learn about some of Suess’s extensive catalog.
Wednesday, March 2 was designated a day to commemorate Dr. Suess’s book called, “What Pet Should I get?”
Some ESS students brought in their favorite stuffed animals to hold while they had the story read to them, others got the chance to hear the story read to them via Youtube and others had the chance to hear Shelton’s Animal control supervisor Leon Sylvester talk about the responsibilities of having a pet.
During his talk, Sylvester passed out frisbees, rulers and pencils to the children for sharing the responsibilities they knew that come along with owning a pet. Sylvester said the story “What Pet Should I Get?” was a perfect opportunity to teach kids some of the duties that come along with taking care of an animal.
Yolish brought her well-known dog named “Kinzy Bean” to Elizabeth Shelton and told the students about the annual fundraiser she holds in order to donate money to the local animal shelter. Since the fundraiser began nearly 10 years ago, Yolish and Kinzy have donated more than $15,000 to the shelter and a bench that is in place in Shelton’s dog park.
After Sylvester finished speaking to the kids he was presented a check for $1,500 that was raised by the students of Elizabeth Shelton in just four days.
Sylvester said he was beyond grateful for the donation and it will directly toward to the animals in the shelter.