Read Across America

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Friday was a day to celebrate the love of reading and remember Dr. Seuss' birthday. Officially, his birthday is Saturday, but many local schools celebrated it Friday by inviting community members and WTOK's staff to read to children.

Some of the most beloved children's books ever came to life at local schools thanks to celebrity readers like Newscenter 11's Andrea Williams, who visited Crestwood Elementary, Brian Hutton, Jr., who paid a visit to West Kemper Elementary, and Lindsey Hall and Deana Day, who read at Oakland Heights Elementary.

Students in DeKalb even got a visit from the Grinch.

Teachers say they can talk about reading and show students reading all year, but when well-known people do it, it helps them see how important it is.

"It's important that we teach our children how important it is to read, and how fun it can be," said Crestwood teacher, Emily Albritton. "By inviting celebrity readers in to the classrooms, it just proves to the children that reading can be fun, and that it is important for them to read."

As part of this day, many students in this area and across the nation took part in an attempt to set a record for most books read in a single day. As part of the coast to coast event, students read and then took tests on their books, hoping to break last year's record of more than three million.

"They get excited when they pass the test," said Wendy Pilgrim of East Kemper Elementary. "They want to get a new book, and they get excited because they choose their own books. And this helps improve their reading as they get the new book, and they continue on their level in improving their reading."

And it apparently worked. Last year's reading record was shattered. At last count, students nationwide had read more than four million books, potentially on their way to five million by the time they're all counted from coast to coast.

The man known as Dr. Seuss, Theodore Seuss Geisel, would have celebrated his 109th birthday Saturday. He published 46 different books during his career. Eight of them remain among the top 50 selling children's books of all time.