Coal Mountain Elementary School’s students went on a journey this past week, traveling through the sunny beaches of Hawaii and the well-known cities of Massachusetts without ever having to leave their classrooms.
The kids took this trip across the U.S. through the imaginative world of books in honor of Read Across America Day, a national celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and a day dedicated to getting kids excited about reading.
“We have just spent this week really focusing on building a love of reading and finding joy in reading,” Principal Kelly Fuchs said.
Fuchs and the school’s media specialist, Billie Treece, thought there would be no better way to show students how fun reading can be than by showing them an assortment of books that could take them on an adventure through their country.
Treece created a map showing the exact “vacation” route students would be taking through the week, starting in Washington D.C. with a book about the nation’s capital before going on to Hawaii with “Froggy Goes to Hawaii” by Jonathan London, to Oregon with the book “Apples to Oregon” by Deborah Hopkinson, and to Massachusetts with “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey.
Students also dressed to match the places they would be visiting each day and before reading through each book, Treece and the rest of the staff taught students more about each of the states.
“The overall goal is really to make it about Reading Across America, so I was trying to tie in geography with our literature,” Treece said.
They ended the week on Friday, March 3, by coming back home to Georgia with the book “Georgia Music” by Helen V. Griffith. Throughout the day, the kids read and learned about their own state with many sporting their favorite University of Georgia shirt.
They also each showed off a postcard, given to them by the school’s PTA, on which they put a sticker to commemorate each part of the nation they visited. To represent Massachusetts, some students had a giant sticker of a duck across their postcards while others also had a peach to represent Georgia.
Next year, Treece said she hopes to take students to other states where they can continue to collect stickers and learn more about other parts of the country.
“I think the next thing that we can anticipate is that students are going to be reading books about places they haven’t been before and being excited to share that with somebody because we’ve modeled that for them this week,” Fuchs said. “It’s instilling that love of learning and giving them opportunities to keep that going even independently of these activities, but then reminding them, ‘We’re coming back to this every year, and you’re going to get to explore and learn about new places.’”
Coal Mountain’s students weren’t the only ones to celebrate Read Across America Day in the county this week.
Other elementary schools across the district celebrated in their own ways, holding dress-up days and asking students to find some of their favorite books to read and bring to class. Haw Creek Elementary encouraged students to read in some of their silliest socks one day and in their pajamas later in the week, while Chestatee Elementary saw students come into school dressed as their favorite Dr. Seuss character.
The Forsyth County Fire Department also got involved as their Community Risk Reduction Team visited with first graders in the county on Thursday to read “No Dragons for Tea,” a fun and comfortable book on lessons in fire safety.