Getting crazy about reading: Literary activities on Dr. Seuss’ B-Day

Published 10:55 am Monday, March 5, 2018

By Lorenzo Salinas


Reading is great — and to show how great, a Port Arthur school joined others in the district to dress up and celebrate the birthday of beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss.

Sam Houston Elementary School took part in Read Across America, a national initiative, to raise reading awareness and motivation in its students. The occasion was marked by character parades, partner reading and other literary-themed activities on Friday.

School librarian Angela Harper described the theme of the day as “Crazy About Reading.”

“That’s the (attitude) we’re trying to get into all students — crazy about reading,” Harper said. “We tell them it’s not only important for tests but for life.”

Students, faculty and volunteers all gather under one classroom roof Friday at Sam Houston Elementary to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with games, activities and plenty and plenty of reading. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

The Houston campus utilizes Accelerated Reader (AR) points to entice students to read more books. The more books they read, the more points they earn.

Harper referenced the school’s Hall of Fame where a tally is kept of individual classroom’s AR points where students can keep track of their progress.

Harper praised the efforts of community leaders and members who took the time out of their busy days to come Friday and read with students.

Representatives from places like Museum of the Gulf Coast and McAlister’s Deli were on hand (and in costume) to celebrate the wonder of reading with children.

“It’s a great initiative because we have several people and city officials who are involved,” principal Marcia Sharp said.

“ ‘We are a reading campus’ — that’s our motto.”

Sharp said the elementary schools in the district have a friendly competition where they determine who has the most AR points at the end of the year.

She was quick to point out Sam Houston’s winning streak, but was just as quick to say winning wasn’t the point.

“It’s not about the points; it’s about the reading,” Sharp said. “It’s about expanding their horizons, increasing their vocabulary and encouraging the children to become thinkers.”

Students and members from the community celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss Friday at Sam Houston Elementary by dressing up and participating in numerous reading-based activities. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

Sharp emphasized the school’s mission in changing the culture of learning for the better — for their campus to be a reading one and to let parents and the community know they’re actively pursuing better ways of accomplishing it.

“Reading is powerful. It takes you down the right road and helps you make the right decisions in life,” one of the community members, Debbie Beevers, said.

Beevers was dressed head to toe as Dr. Seuss’ famous character the Cat in the Hat.

She mentioned a very literal case of making the “right” decision when she recalled one of the books the children read that morning. It was a book that explained the concept of physical directions like left or right when traveling.

Harper described the anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ birthday as an important district-wide and nation-wide event for Sam Houston Elementary and all other schools in the Port Arthur district.

To encourage quality reading and literacy skills, Sam Houston awards the students who have the 12 highest AR scores with a limousine ride to Barnes & Noble in Beaumont where they can each pick two books of their choice. Afterward, they are treated to a free meal at McAlister’s Deli in Port Arthur.