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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2014:03:03 08:40:15

Danny Kimes, a seventh-grade student at Riverside High School, read 131 words during the Read Across America celebration on Monday, March 3. PHOTOS SHANNON C. KEITH

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2014:03:03 08:40:10

Members of the seventh-grade listen as students attempt to “out read” each other.

For educators in the Riverside School District, the annual Read Across America celebration — typically called Dr. Seuss Day — isn’t just for elementary students.

“We celebrate Read Across America at Riverside High School because we know the value of encouraging our students to read,” said language arts teacher Katie Gedrich. “The purpose of our event is to celebrate reading for enjoyment and our hope is that our students continue to find books they like. We want our students to be lifelong readers.”

Throughout the day on Monday, March 3, students in grades seven through 12 participated in various activities focused on reading.

All students, regardless of the class and subject, were granted the entire third period to engage in silent reading utilizing books students had brought along to read. This meant that for more than 44 minutes some 700 students were reading at the same time. While some might find those numbers less than stellar, to have the entire student body engaged in reading all at once left Gedrich especially pleased, considering faculty had to forgo lessons planned for the day.

“Our committee has so much support from others to make Read Across America a successful day,” she said. “Our cafeteria workers, maintenance staff, faculty, administrators, students, and parents all work together to make our celebration fun and exciting.”

Seventh-grade student Danny Kimes took a turn at the speed reading competition in the library, tackling the Dr. Seuss tale “Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?.”

“I volunteered to do this because I am really good at reading and I wanted to try for a ribbon,” he said.

Kimes loves to read and enjoys authors like Rick Riordan.

“I love to read,” he said. “And I’m able to read very fast. I think activities like this are nice because Dr. Seuss wrote some really great books and it’s great that high school students can do celebrations like this.”

In addition to the silent reading and the speed reading, guest speakers shared stories and read to students, family consumer science students made Cat in the Hat hats for kindergarten students and all students sampled a special cake sponsored by the Parent-Teacher Association.

“Typically, elementary schools celebrate Read Across America, or Dr. Seuss day, with many activities and guest readers,” Gedrich added. “We continue the tradition for grades seven to 12 because reading never stops being important. One of the most rewarding things is when we see our students making the time to read.”