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Ellicott City students celebrate Seuss with Read Across America Day

Oh, the places Trinity students will go. The more-than 300 students at Trinity School in Ellicott City celebrated Read Across America Friday. Development director Renee VanSchoor said the festivities gave students a chance to celebrate many's personal hero, Theodor Geisel — better known as beloved author Dr. Seuss.

"They love him, and this definitely fosters a love of reading," VanSchoor said. "The kids can memorize parts of the books and they like the rhyming, the silliness of them."

To celebrate Read Across America Day, usually held on March 2 for Geisel's birthday, Trinity middle school students read with their "little sisters" or "little brothers" in elementary school. At the beginning of each year, students are partnered in the program, said Margie Martinez, head Trinity's primary school.

"The little kids get to know the big kids, and they see each other on campus and at special events," she said. "They really get to know the older kids, and the older ones are terrific, wonderful models for our little ones."

Trinity School is a independent Catholic school sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and educates students in preschool through eighth grade.

While Trinity has been celebrating Read Across America Day for years, VanSchoor said this year was different because it's the first time Trinity has partnered with Blue Star Families in the Books on Bases Program, which was created to help military kids enhance literacy skills and foster a love of reading. VanSchoor said Trinity is home to a number of military families because of the campus's proximity to Ft. Meade.

As part of the program, each student in second grade went home with a goodie bag, filled with Dr. Seuss-themed bookmarks, erasers, pencils, stickers, information on Blue Star Families, and their own copy of "Oh, The Places You'll Go!"

Second grade was chosen for the program, Martinez said, because the students "love Dr. Seuss the most. They get it."

Second-graders made paper hats similar to the iconic head covering worn by the eponymous feline in Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat," and when their big brothers and big sisters were done reading them "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" the second-graders got their turn to read.

"Reading together really engages them, and it's a chance to showcase their reading skills," said second-grade teacher Heather Johns. "The children can hear the expression in the older students' voices, and they understand the importance of reading. They're expanding their vocabulary so they can be better writers. The more you read, the better you write."

There's a silliness to Seuss, Martinez said, but the students get to use word skills they learn in the classroom.

"From an educational perspective, it's fantastic," she said. "They love reading because of the books' illustrations and the imaginative way Dr. Seuss presents his tales. (In 'Oh, The Places You'll Go!'), the message is for everyone ages 8 to 88, because we all still have these wonderful dreams."

Christian Boyce, 7, said he liked the book because "it told you about all these different places." Christian said he likes how he gets to use his imagination when he reads, even if it's not Dr. Suess.

"I like reading, because it gives you all these different pictures you can think of in your head," he said. "That makes it fun."

Second-grader Angelina Bezos said she liked reading "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" with the older students because the book "was really fun, and it makes you laugh sometimes."

"It's all made-up and all kinds of different things can happen in a Dr. Seuss book," she said.

"Wacky Wednesday" is Angelina's favorite Dr. Seuss book, she said. Her father used to read it to her every night until he finally asked "please, let's read something else," she said, giggling.

Angelina, 8, said she can't wait to be in middle school with a little brother or sister of her own to read to.

"I really liked the stories we read today, and I'm very excited to pass that on to somebody someday," she said.


Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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