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Eastern Celebrates ‘Read Across America' Day

Published on March 04, 2020

Eastern Celebrates ‘Read Across America' Day

Eastern student volunteers read to Natchaug Elementary School students.

Eastern student volunteers read to Natchaug Elementary School students.

An Eastern student facilitates the hand decoration station.

Students from the Education Club help set up the scribble pebble station.

Eastern students create bookmarks.

As part of National Read Across America Day on March 2, Eastern Connecticut State University student volunteers from the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) teamed up with four local elementary schools to read books to children. In addition, Eastern's English Department and Education Club hosted a community celebration on campus from 6-8 p.m. in the J. Eugene Smith Library.

Schools and students across the United States gather each year to celebrate National Read Across America Day in honor of the late author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The event initiated in 1997 on Seuss’ birthday to encourage children to read more and gain a better appreciation for books.

Eastern students and staff enjoy book-themed snacks at the library.

To celebrate National Read Across America Day, the CCE gathered 32 student volunteers to read to local elementary schoolchildren at Natchaug Elementary School, North Windham Elementary School, Windham Center Elementary School and Sweeney Elementary school. Focusing on the themes of strength of diversity and inclusion, students read the book “All Are Welcome” by Alexandra Penfold. Volunteers read to 150 children at the schools. Switching out in shifts, volunteers read the book to different classes at a time and spent another 30 minutes with the students to further discuss the themes and their understanding of the plot.

“It is important for local college students to go out into the community because it gives the community a friendly, positive face to put to the university,” said Eastern sophomore and student leader Marissa Daniolos. “It also allows college students to get to know the community they became a part of when they committed to Eastern.”

After the readings, volunteers and school children created various crafts to bring the themes of the book together, including paper hand decorations, puzzles and posters, to create a physical depiction of the power of working together.

Later that night the English Department and Education Club on Eastern’s campus hosted a Read Across America celebration in the curriculum center of the library. Education Club members set up a series of crafts for community members and Eastern students to enjoy, including make your own bookmark, scribble stones, a Harry Potter-themed photo booth and a reading table.

Highlighting the diversity of books and genres, the reading table included classics ranging from “Green Eggs and Ham,” by Dr. Seuss to new narrative books like “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly and Winifred Conkling. Book-themed snacks at the refreshment table included foods such as Anne of Green Gables’s raspberry cordial, Harry Potter’s chocolate frogs and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’s Turkish delight.

Written by Vania Galicia