Read Across America '04

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Tuesday would have been the 100th birthday for "Dr. Seuss" or writer, Ted Geisel. Famous for books such as "The Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham," Geisel is responsible for getting millions of children to read. And that is the goal of the "Read Across America" program.

"If the children read 9,000 books between now and May, we have a fun activity planned to reward them," said Newton County Elementary School principal, Jeanette Thrash. "They reached that goal last year and we are certain they will do it again this year."
"Read Across America" started in 1998 to get kids excited about reading. Experts say the earlier a child begins to read, the better.

"The earlier children read, the happier their lives will be. Parents need to start the day they are born," said Thrash. "It will help a lot when they get to school. The kids that have been read to you know immediately."

Prizes, parties and even celebrity appearances are used to motivate students. The guest at the celebration was none other than Mississippi's First Lady, Marsha Barbour. She read to the children.

"I think it is essential, because the world is changing very fast and to be able to keep up, you have to be able to read," said Barbour. "If you can't read, you are not going to be successful."

Research has shown that reading often can help improve a child's grades in all subject areas.

Other schools also had special activities, including having citizens from the community be guest readers.

This year's ''Read Across America'' marked what would have been the 100th birthday of the author of the Dr. Seuss children's book, Ted Geisel

"It's very important for students to learn to read and to get a good education. It can take them a long way in life, just knowing how to read," said Glenda Rush of Parkview Elementary School in Meridian.

WTOK’s Andrea Williams enjoyed sharing her love of reading with students at Parkview on Tuesday.