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Dallas Plays Host to Read Across America Kickoff

Reading rules in Dallas

The hallways of Herbert Marcus Elementary School in Dallas, Tex. were lined with green, pink, blue, and multi-colored truffula trees. One fish, two fish, red fish, and blue fish were splashed on doors and walls. Thing 1 and Thing 2 were up to their silly tricks. This could only mean one thing: time to celebrate NEA’s Read Across America!

Marcus played host to NEA’s 19th annual Read Across Across program on Feb. 26 and was the first stop of a six-city reading tour. Hundreds of first through third graders—and educators—donned the Cat in the Hat’s trademark red and white stove pipe hat and took part in a special reading celebration.

Lily Eskelsen García, president of NEA, read Green Eggs and Ham and Noel Candelaria, president of the Texas State Teachers Association, stressed to the excited group of students the importance of picking up a good book every day of the year, but especially on March 2nd, the

birthday of Theordor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss.

Other special guests included Angela Davis, president of NEA-Dallas, and the beloved Cat-in-the-Hat, who made a surprise appearance and answered questions from curious students. The burning question: “What’s in your hat?”

The group also led the assembly in the Reader’s Oath, which inspires students to become life-long readers by promising to “read each day and each night” because “it’s the key to growing up right.”

“We were honored to be chosen for NEA’s Read Across America kickoff and we’re so proud to be able to showcase our school,” says Jennifer Crisp, a second-grade teacher at Marcus. “We love The Cat in the Hat and we use all the Dr. Seuss books, which makes learning to read a lot more interesting and fun for our kids.”

She added, “Reading is where it all starts and we teach our kids how it’s the building block to everything they’ll do.”

In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, students and educators at Marcus held events each day of the week, from wearing hand-made hats on Monday to wacky Wednesday, where some students wore pajamas to school. The week-long festivities not only culminated with NEA’s reading celebration, but with local volunteers who read Dr. Seuss books to students in their classrooms. Nearly 20 community groups volunteered to take part in the reading frenzy, from local churches and banks to members of the Dallas Police department and airborne traffic anchor, Julian Rogers of KRLD-TV.

“When volunteers can come out and read to students, it shows our kids that reading is for everybody,” said Davis, a former gifted and talented teacher at Marcus.

Invited guests also left a special reminder of the day’s event in traditional Marcus style. With painted palms, Association leaders left their prints on Marcus’s Leaving Your Mark wall.The wall is peppered with student prints, which represent their accomplishments, such as courteous behavior and hard work.


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NEA is taking flight with Southwest Airlines, the official airline of NEA’s Read Across America.


Follow NEA's 2016 multi-city reading tour!

DALLAS: Feb 26, 2016

NASHVILLE: Feb 29, 2016

PHOENIX: March 1, 2016

SAN DIEGO: March 2, 2016

DENVER: March 3, 2016

ATLANTA: March 4, 2016

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