NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
March 4, 2011 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204
ONE WORLD READING TOGETHER
WALNUT, CA—C.J. Morris Elementary School hosted a Read Across America event on Friday, March 4 to celebrate the 107th birthday of famed children’s author Dr. Seuss.
From 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. over 30 community members including parents, district, fire, police, army officials, Walnut High School athletes and cheer leaders, volunteered to read to students during the event.
“You represent our community, from soldiers to students, and are sharing your love of reading with our students,” said Principal Susan Arzola as she welcomed and thanked the volunteers for giving their time.
Many of the visiting readers brought a favorite book to share with students, showing their own passion for reading. Some wore work attire or something reflecting their culture.
Parent Mrs. Angela Chu read Dr. Seuss’s A Fly Went By in both Mandarin and English to Ramil Veneracion’s 2nd grade class. Students smiled and laughed when she shared the story the first time in Mandarin with an animated voice and exaggerated expressions.
“My students thought it was really cool to hear the different types of animals in another language,” he said. The children were able to understand the story even though they didn’t know the words the first time.
“I even remember that Zhu means cow and Gou means dog!” he said.
The best part though, was when Mrs. Chu read A Fly Went By again in English, Veneracion said.
“This is what Read across America is really about - appreciating other languages and understanding that books are a great way of bringing cultures together,” he said.
Volunteer Mrs. Rosemarie Lippman chose to read Dr. Seuss’ If I ran the Circus for the event. She told a class of 5th graders that she loved Seuss’ books because “he paints with words!”
“I look forward to this every year,” said parent Mrs. Rita Santana who read On Ramon’s Farm a book that includes some beginning level Spanish words.
“The kids were great at participating while I was reading,” she said. “They answered questions, copied the animal sounds, and told me the meaning of the Spanish words in the book.”
Each guest visited three classrooms to read, share, and answer questions for about 20 minutes.
Walnut Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Dean Conklin read Daniel Kirk’s Library Mouse and shared how his job focuses on “making sure students are learning in our schools.”
He told a 5th grade class that he had chosen a book suitable for younger students too, knowing he’d be reading to a variety of grades. “If I get stuck, I know you’ll be able to help me out!”
Because C.J. Morris is an International School, the volunteers were asked to share personal stories about their careers and cultures.
“Focusing on our culture allows my son and I to share more of our heritage with his class,” Santana said. And to her surprise, she learned that her grandmother and one her son’s classmate’s parents came from the same state in Mexico!
In many classes the children gathered around their visitor in the cozy reading corner, getting a close-up look at the pages of the books.
After firefighter/paramedic Mike Krecu from Walnut Station #61 finished reading Seuss’ There’s a Map on My Lap, students asked several questions about his job including, ”Can girls be firefighters?” and “Do you have a dog at the station?”
Another firefighter read Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing – A letter to my daughters and passed around his heavy jacket and helmet during his classroom visits.
Students loved the hands-on connection and several tried on the protective helmet. “It smells like smoke!” one student exclaimed.
“This was a great experience today and I recommend it for every parent!” Santana said.
Over 30 community volunteers joined C.J. Morris Elementary School’s celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 4. Not shown: Firefighters from Walnut Station # 61.
Walnut High athletes wearing letterman’s jackets visited classrooms to read and answer questions with the elementary children during a reading celebration held around the world.
Parent Mrs. Angela Chu read the Dr. Seuss classic book A Fly Went By twice - in both Mandarin and English - to students in Mr.Ramil Veneracion’s 2nd grade class.
Parent Mrs. Rita Santana shared On Ramon’s Farm with students.
Firefighters from Station #61 read to students and answered questions about their job.