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Read Across America touches local students
Read Across Amer pic1
Scott Soiseth, TUSD director of child nutrition, dresses as Dr. Seuss with Deanna Millentree and Shannon Perez accompanying him as Thing 1 and Thing 2 as he reads to a class at Wakefield Elementary on Monday morning.

 The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So they sat in the classroom all that cold, cold, wet day. 
Too wet to go out and too cold to play ball. So they sat in the classroom and did nothing at all. And then something went BUMP! How that bump made them jump! They looked! Then they saw him step in on the mat! They looked! And they saw him! The Cat in the Hat — or actually Turlock Unified Director of Child Nutrition Scott Soiseth, wearing gloves, a bowtie and a tall, tall striped hat!


Soiseth, along with TUSD Superintendent Sonny DaMarto and other guest readers, shared his favorite Dr. Seuss book with Wakefield Elementary students on Monday as part of National Read Across America Day, which coincides with the birthday of famed children's book author Dr. Seuss.


Promoted by the National Education Foundation, the Read Across America program is in its 17th year and aims to encourage children and teenagers to pursue reading by offerings events and partnerships. Wakefield Elementary students were fortunate to not only have their parents in attendance on Monday morning to read with them during a designated reading period, but each class was treated to a reading of one of Dr. Seuss’s classic children’s books by a local dignitary.


“We have one reader for every class at the school, which is really exciting because the kids not only love to read but to be read to,” said Kelly Villalobos, a second grade teacher at Wakefield Elementary and coordinator for the event.

Superintendent DaMarto, Turlock City Council member Steven Nascimento, Alice Pollard of the Stanislaus County Board of Education, and this Journal reporter, read the lyrically words unique to Dr. Seuss’ books to classes filled with students.   


“This was exciting and fun to get out and meet the kids outside of the cafeteria,” Soiseth, who dressed as the Cat in the Hat, accompanied by Thing 1 and Thing 2 (food service employees willing to go the extra mile), to the glee of the class to which he read.


While reading is the cornerstone of education no matter which subject a student favors, it is also an enjoyable pastime for all ages. Wakefield Elementary spotlighted the fun aspects of literature as students competed in a Dr. Seuss door decorating competition and a bookmark contest with the winner’s bookmark to be handed out in the library for the rest of the year.


“Reading is one of those things that opens new doors to new life and imagination. When you can read about someone who does great things you want to be great too. That’s why it’s so important for us to give kids that kind of foundation,” said DaMarto.