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In the cat’s hat: Area students celebrate reading

LAUREN WOOD/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Deloris Wilson, the attendance clerk at Frazier Primary, center, reads “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss aloud to second graders in Dale Smith’s classroom Friday morning for Read Across America.

NATCHEZ — Countless cats in hats, more than a few Things One and Things Two and enough rhymes to pass the time helped transform Miss-Lou elementary school campuses into Whoville Friday.

In recognition of the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss, and in collaboration with the national “Read Across America” campaign to encourage children to read, many area schools spent much of Friday performing programs, learning about Dr. Seuss or being read to by community members.

At Adams County Christian School, children were given a little more freedom to indulge their creative sides.

In conjunction with the release of the latest movie based on a Dr. Seuss book, “The Lorax,” kindergarten through sixth-grade students wrote poems they shared to an audience of their family members Friday. Each poem shared a lesson about ecology, which echoes the theme of “The Lorax.”

“Turn off the water and lights if you leave the house tonight,” was a lyric of one group’s poem, which the students recited from the gym stage.

“With our feet we dash and go pick up all the trash,” was another lyric.

Kindergarten students wore construction paper red-and white-stripped hats, first-graders wore blue stringy headbands like Things One and Two and one adult wore a full Cat in the Hat suit.

But the Cat in the Hat costume didn’t fool kindergartner Zeke McCranie.

“The real one’s in New Orleans,” he shouted off the stage, flailing his arms to enlighten the masses. “I’ve seen the real one.”

McCranie later explained he saw the authentic Cat in the Hat at a reading on a trip to the Big Easy with his family.

ACCS Elementary Principal Donna Loomis told parents about the challenges students tackled in writing their own poems like Dr. Seuss, and she reminded them of their role in reading at home.

“Please read to your children — it’s important,” Loomis said.

At Frazier Primary School, teachers and students wearing red and white hats and smiles were scattered around the outdoor campus.

Natchez Police Officer Felesha Fleming and NPD employee Catherine Latham both read to students at Frazier Friday.

Fleming said children tend to view police as an authority figure, which isn’t a bad thing, but becoming involved in event’s like Friday’s Read Across America exposes them to a less freighting image of police.

“(We read to them) so they can see the other side (of the role of a police officer),” Latham said.

Fleming, who read “It’s a Great Day for Up,” said the children actively participated during her reading, even reciting parts they had memorized while she read.

“They knew the book,” she said.

At Ferriday Lower Elementary School, students learned about Dr. Seuss’ life when librarian Jane Taylor read biographical information about him over the intercom.

Ferriday Lower Principal Bobbie Hinson said some teachers dressed as Cat in the Hat and read Dr. Seuss books to their classes all week long.

Hinson said she read Dr. Seuss books as a child and remembers, as an adult, when he died. The rhyming, fun-to-read books are helpful in developing an early love of reading, she said.

“Reading is the key and the foundation of learning,” Hinson said.

Like Loomis, Hinson said parents’ involvement in reading is key.

“It has to start in the home.”

This year marks the 15th year of the National Education Association’s Reading Across America program.

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