Hughson Elementary and Fox Road students show love for books during Read Across America

Hughson Unified’s youngest students had a fun day Friday celebrating their love of reading as part of Read Across America.

Read Across America is a nationwide event coordinated by the National Education Association. It includes suggested books appropriate for students at various grade levels as well as ideas for other activities to promote reading.

At Hughson Elementary School, the theme was “Reading is Out of This World.” All the books that were featured for kindergarten through third-grade students had a space theme. At Fox Road Elementary, the fourth-and fifth-graders were treated to the works of Dr. Seuss, including “Cat in the Hat” and other popular stories.

“Our teachers do an amazing job at teaching reading and comprehension skills, but this gives us an opportunity to celebrate another of our missions, fostering the love of reading,” said Fox Road Principal Jeff Persons. “We also focus on celebrating the contributions of Dr. Seuss (author Theodor Geisel), who was born 120 years ago on March 2.”

As part of Friday’s fun, all Fox Road students and staff were encouraged to wear their favorite hat. The day began with a morning assembly to remind everyone of their love of reading and included a relay race where students tossed toy cat figurines into a hat (to again recognize “Cat in the Hat”).

Fox Road students also received goody bags and were able to take home three books each that were donated by Hughson residents. Persons said teachers were given links to virtual libraries and classroom activities that they used to focus on the fun of reading throughout the day.

At HES, the theme was “Reading is Out of This World” and all the books had some connection to outer space. Principal Megan Reisz and her team welcomed 26 VIP readers from throughout the community – people representing education, law enforcement, government and even a local author.

“Readers were checked in at HES Mission Control (our office), had an opportunity to enjoy some MRE’s (snacks) and preview their manual (book) for their flight as well as communicate with other astronauts,” Reisz said. “After Mission Control conducted initial instructions (announcements), astronauts (readers) were sent to their assigned planet (classroom) to read their manual (book).”

Kori Messer, Hughson Elementary’s reading intervention specialist, said Read Across America fits naturally with what the staff tries to do all year long – which is to cultivate students’ enjoyment of books.

“This event reinforces that everyone reads,” she said. “We want students to not only realize the importance of reading, but to love reading as well.”

The fun at HES continued Friday night from 6-8 p.m. when the Parent Teacher Club hosted a book exchange where students got to pick up two (gently used) books for free that were donated by other students, staff and community members. They also got a cookie and popcorn, had photo opportunities in a Dr. Suess theme and could even make a bookmark.