RIPLEY — Ripley Central School students celebrated Read Across America Day in a variety of ways this year.
While the actual National Read Across America Day is on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss, students held activities throughout the week.
Principal Micah Oldham provided some history on National Read Across America Day.
“Starting in 1997, the NEA pushed for a special day to celebrate reading throughout the United States,” he said. “The idea proved to be a popular one, so it was not long before the first Read Across America Day was held on March 2, 1998.”
Oldham said the event is designed to encourage reading in children, but it also offers an excuse to have fun while celebrating reading.
“The students dressed as their favorite characters from books on Wednesday,” he said. “The cafeteria even served up a Dr. Seuss themed breakfast and lunch (green eggs and ham/birthday cake).”
Oldham said reading is a priority at Ripley and developing students’ identities as readers is given attention on a daily basis.
“Reading is at the core of what we do at Ripley Elementary and developing students’ identities as readers is something we strive for each day,” he said. “Read Across America gives us a chance to celebrate that identity and work.”
Activities at Ripley Central School included a different spirit day Monday through Friday. Monday was “Read My Shirt” Day and everyone was invited to wear a shirt with writing. Tuesday was “If I Ran a Zoo” Day, and students were invited to wear animal print/camo clothes. On Wednesday, everyone showed up as characters for “Dress as a Book Character” Day. On Thursday, “Snuggle Up with a Good Book” Day gave students and faculty a chance to relax in their pajamas. Friday was designated as “Crazy Sock Day” and is also Ripley Elementary School’s customary Blue Shirt Friday.
Oldham said many people contributed to the plans for the week.
“Mrs. Kondrick suggested the spirit days,” he said. “Rhonda Thompson reached out from the public library, and the YWCA donated Dr. Seuss themed pencils and stickers.”
The students also had guest readers from Chautauqua Lake Central School, an activity that was organized by Michelle Rowe, Oldham said.
“Guest readers from CLCS visited RCS classrooms during the morning of March 2. The students shared favorite Caldecott Winning books and favorite childhood books “ he said. “The Ripley students love seeing their older siblings/former students visit to read.”
Pupils took walking field trips to the Ripley Public Library on Tuesday and Friday, Oldham said.
“Students always enjoy getting outside and exploring their community. The Ripley Public Library has done a really nice job of renovating the physical building and these trips highlight this awesome resource,” he said. “I know that we have more students taking advantage of the library outside of school hours since the walking trips began.”
Rhonda Thompson, Ripley library director, read a Dr. Suess book to each visiting class. Afterward the students go to play a game, such as Pin the Tie on the Cat.
The students were very engaged in the activities at the library, Thompson said.
“I was very pleased with it,” she said. “A big part is getting out of classes. They realize that learning can take place outside of the classroom. There are other learning environments.”
Thompson said she hopes that activities of this sort help familiarize students with the library and inspire them to visit the library outside of school.
“We want to get them to learn to love the library,” Thompson said. “We hope they will go home and say, ‘Hey can you take me to the library?”