LANCASTER – Over 20 members of the community read to the children of West Wind Elementary Friday in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and National Read Across America Day.
“I like the opportunity to hear people from a variety of professions,” said Janine Simi, a teacher at West Wind Elementary, “(who) not only read to them, but discuss why reading is important and have a different voice besides a parent or a teacher say reading is important in your life.”
The readers included a judge who used to be a rocket scientist, firefighters, and representatives from insurance and real estate companies, the parks and recreations department, and the district office.
Captain Kay Harter, an airline pilot with United Airlines, said she brought a book about flying to show the students a non-traditional career for a woman.
Lancaster City Councilwoman Sandra Johnson read “Daisy the Firefighter” to a fourth grade class.
“I chose the book because our friend (Viki Woodworth) had written it and it was her dream to be able to publish a book and her dream came true,” Johnson said. “And I thought that would be a great example to give to the children to reach for their dreams, and they can be anything they want to be.”
Johnson told the class that she was able to reach her dream of being a university owner and a councilwoman.
The students shared their goals for the future, as well.
The students said they want to be an environmentalist, a marine biologist, an interior designer, an artist, a doctor, a football player, a veterinarian, a teacher and a famous singer.
Johnson said she was impressed with the students’ dreams, saying it is an example of their teachers and parents.
“I think that today is important because it showed our students and the community involved that all of these leaders and heroes are definitely an example for the children and giving them the awareness that reading is the key and education is the key to their success,” Johnson said.
The theme for this year’s “Read Across America” is going green, but Simi said she didn’t focus too much on it. Although, Simi said the school principal, Linda Edmond, did bring the staff green eggs and ham for breakfast in the morning.
Simi said the Dr. Seuss books are hard to read because they’re such tongue twisters but thinks the idea is great.
“The kids love them,” Simi said. “It gets them into reading and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Since 1998, Read Across America Day has been celebrated every year on Dr. Seuss’ birthday.