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Walnut valley Unified School District

ALLmeansALL! Walnut Valley USD is proud to be a National Schools to Watch District with numerous National Blue Ribbon, California Gold Ribbon, and California Distinguished School awards. Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!  

A Day of Reading

NEWS                                                                                    Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   880 S. Lemon Avenue
March 6, 2014                                                                       Walnut, CA 91789

Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909)595-1261 ext. 31204

A Day of Reading
Celebrating Read Across America

DIAMOND BAR, CA—This week, Maple Hill Elementary hosted a Dr. Seuss Week to celebrate the birthday of the beloved children’s author.

The Diamond Bar school joined schools across the country during the 17th Annual Read Across America co-sponsored by the National Educator’s Association and California Teacher’s Association.

“This year our school’s theme is “Reading Brings Characters to Life,” explained teacher Kelly Morris.

She also bought all 456 students wooden spoons so they could make puppets of their favorite book characters.

The week was chalked full of literacy activities for the children.

On Monday, March 3, students competed for prizes by wearing the colored clothing of Thing 1 or Thing 2, characters from Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat book.

Students wore green on Tuesday to celebrate Seuss’ How The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Green Eggs and Ham books.

On Wednesday, the children showed school spirit by wearing orange to represent Seuss’ popular book,The Lorax

On Thursday, Maple Hill students paired up with a classmate to read and share with their homemade character puppets. 

2nd grader Kamryn Leos, age 8 picked the forest creature Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz featured at the end of the Dr. Seuss’ ABC’s.

“I was looking through it and I liked pink and white, so I chose it,” she said

Danial Barradas, also age 8, made a Pikachu puppet featured in the Pokeman junior book.

He glued orange-colored cotton balls and eyes to create the chubby mouse character.

Comic ventriloquist Joe Gandelman introduced his cast of characters during two assemblies on March 6.

“I love Dr. Seuss,” he told the children.

“When I was a kid, my mother bought me all the Dr. Seuss books, I had a big stack!” he said encouraging the children to read.

His favorites were Green Eggs and Ham and Horton Hears a Hoo.

Then Gandelman brought out one of his furry friends, a sweet cuddly elephant.

‘He’s not Horton, it’s his cousin,” he said.

But that tricky little elephant sprayed water on the audience!

The turkey puppet’s two favorite words are “strict vegetarian,” Gandelman joked.

“He hasn’t been the same since we went to Subway and saw the foot-long turkey sandwich!”

The children laughed when John the wooden boy puppet spun his head around and wiggled his ears.

Other puppet visitors included a grey shark, bulldog, baby and a talking plant.

First grader Ayala Sebastian was plucked from the group to try on giant-sized lips to demonstrate how a puppet works.  It looked cool and fun!

Two students, 3rd grader Alyna Evans and 1st grader Ethan McNeil, volunteered to demonstrate being a puppeteer.

“Anybody can do ventriloquism and I can show you how to do it for free!” Gandelman said.

The puppet master told the children to always look at the puppet so that the audience will too.

“And here’s the biggest secret - we never say the hardest letters V, F, M, D and P,” he whispered.

Gandelman showed the kids how to substitute letters to replace the five tongue twisters.

Students held up their hands like a puppet to practice being a ventriloquist.

“Just say turtle for purple,” he added.  And it worked!


Maple Hill students were eager to participate with ventriloquist Joe Gandelman during two assemblies held on March 6.  

Students giggled during the silly puppet show on March 6. 

Splash Zone! Sly ventriloquist Joe Gandelman brought out a cute elephant puppet that sprayed water on the audience of 1st, 3rd and 4th graders at Maple Hill Elementary School. 

Maple Hill Elementary students created puppets of their favorite book characters to celebrate Read Across America. 

Maple Hill 2nd graders Danial Barradas and Kamryn Leos show off their favorite book and handmade character puppet during the school’s Read Across America celebration. 

Alyna Evans, a third grader, got to experience being a ventriloquist on March 6. 

First grader Ethan McNeil volunteered for a beginner lesson from ventriloquist Joe Gandelman on March 6.