Official Publication of the Massachusetts Teachers Association
Volume 44, No. 3
Gearing up for a celebration of the joys of reading
By Jean Conley
E ducators and students across Massachusetts will soon join their counterparts nationwide in a special celebration of the joys of reading.
The official Read Across America Day is March
3, but the calendar, as always, is subject to creative
In Everett, schools have chosen Feb. 28 to mark
the occasion. Kim Auger, president of the Everett
Teachers Association and a teacher at the Parlin
School, said “the whole district gets involved”
as town officials and retired educators join older
students in reading their favorite Dr. Seuss classics to
“It’s a great day,” Auger said. “We make a big
deal out of it.”
In Chicopee, National Guard soldiers decked out
in their camouflage uniforms will read to students at
the Streiber Elementary School on the official RAA
Aimee Baron, a computer paraprofessional at
the school, said the program has been such a hit over
the past several years that the school has repeatedly
invited the soldiers of the 126th Brigade Support
Battalion to return.
The idea for Read Across America was hatched
at the National Education Association in 1997. The
NEA chose the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel —
otherwise known as Dr. Seuss — as the date on which
to center events. Read Across America has grown
steadily over the years and has become so popular
that many schools plan activities for the entire week
around Dr. Seuss’s birthday, which is March 2.
For the Streiber event, one soldier is assigned
to each grade level in the K- 5 school, with members
of the Student Council in grades four and five
accompanying the soldiers.
Students are also invited to dress as their favorite
book characters. Baron said Read Across America
Day, which is also part of School Spirit Week, is
memorable for both the students and the soldiers.
Other schools invite local media celebrities and
sports figures in to read books with students in the
library or at schoolwide assemblies.
Another idea is holding a “pajama night,” in
which parents and students don PJs for an overnight
readathon of Dr. Seuss’s works and other popular
Some teachers challenge their students to read
100 books each over the course of the school year.
Others serve up green eggs and ham.
Suggestions, resources and reading lists
are available on the NEA website, www.nea.org,
under “Grants and Events.” The site features a
downloadable poster; the Read Across America
song, oath and poem; and a link to the Dr. Seuss
“Cat-a-log,” where educators can buy red-and-white-striped hats as well as other items. The Read Across
America Facebook fan page, www.facebook.com/
neareadacrossamerica, offers educators more stories
and ideas on how the day can spark a love of reading.
A hero among us
The MTA’s Kathleen Roberts was the recipient of a
Boston Celtics “Heroes Among Us” award during a
basketball game on New Year’s Eve at the TD Garden.
The awards, sponsored by the Massachusetts State
Lottery, are presented to individuals who, “through
their unique commitment and humanitarian spirit,”
have made exceptional and lasting contributions to
their communities. Roberts stands with, from left, Jim
Canavan, assistant executive director and director of
human resources for the Lottery; Celtics forward Gerald
Wallace; and Atlanta Hawks center Pero Antić. Roberts,
99, who lives in Raynham, is officially retired but still
volunteers about 30 hours a week to help schools and
charitable groups. She and a guest were driven by
limousine to the game against the Hawks, and Roberts
was met by more than 150 of her colleagues and friends
who had gathered to cheer her on from the stands.
Photo by Bob Duffy