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Weeklong program makes reading fun
First-grader Eddie Duren, a Park Avenue Elementary School student, never knew the difference between fiction and nonfiction books before Tuesday's assembly.
Eddie, 7, listened closely as Matthew Gollub, a trilingual children's book author, told a fictitious story to about 120 kids that explained why the moon is sometimes out during the day.
"I liked when the moon was partying at the fiesta," Eddie said of the story.
The assembly, held inside the elementary school's cafeteria, was part of a bigger, weeklong program Read Across America. Several schools in Yuba-Sutter participate in the program each year to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday and encourage youths to read.
At Park Avenue, students kicked off the event by wearing unorthodox socks — a part of the "Fox in Sox" theme for Monday — and watching their teachers enact skits from a variety of books.
On Tuesday, Gollub, of Santa Rosa, provided grade-level specific assemblies during "The Cat in the Hat" dress up day, where students were encouraged to wear their favorite hats.
After delivering his fourth presentation to Park Avenue students, Gollub said he tours to schools around the country to show that reading can be fun.
"If you develop the ability to read," he said, "then the world opens up for you."
Reading can be a challenge for all students, but can be especially difficult for English learners, said Kristi Moreno, the school's literacy coach who organized Read Across America week. For this reason, Moreno said it's important for authors like Gollub to visit the school, where nearly 75 percent of the student body is English learners.
Fifth-grader Mary Cruz-Cervantez, 10, comes from a home that speaks equal parts Spanish and English, she said. In some ways, the exposure to two languages helps develop her reading skills because many of the words share similarities.
Mary admitted she doesn't do much reading at home, but said she really enjoyed Gollub's presentation.
"It made reading look fun," she said.
The Read Across America program continued Wednesday, when kids were asked to drop what they were doing and read for 30 minutes at random times throughout the day.
Other activities will be held at a number of schools during the week, as they lead up to Dr. Seuss' birthday on Friday.
CONTACT Griffin Rogers at email@example.com or 749-4783. Find him on Facebook at /ADgriffinrogers or on Twitter at @ADgriffinrogers.