Celebrating Read Across America
The eighteenth annual Read Across America Day was celebrated on March 2, 2015. As always, the event took place on the birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss. This year would have been his 111th birthday. For those who are not familiar with the event, it is an initiative created by the National Education Association to get children excited about reading. The featured book this year was Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.
This was my first year participating in Read Across America. I had the pleasure of reading to my daughter Marlowe’s toddler class at Vanderbilt Children and Family Center (“VCFC”). Like many schools and daycares across the country, VCFC turned Read Across America into a weeklong celebration. Marlowe’s teacher asked me to read to the class on the final day. I had never heard of Read Across America, but was immediately excited to participate and wasted no time thinking about what book I would read to the class.
As we arrived at VCFC last Friday morning, I did not know what to expect from Marlowe and her classmates. Her class is made up of ten children whose ages range from fifteen to twenty-four months. Not unlike most toddlers, I rarely see any of them sitting still and being quiet when I come and go from the class. Not to mention, my child is often the most energetic and boisterous of the bunch. She is like a pinball rapidly bouncing from one side of the classroom to the other. So it was hard for believe that these children would sit and listen to me read. However, I could not have been more wrong about them.
When we walked in and took off our coats, their teacher announced that Marlowe’s mommy was going to read a story and they all quickly gathered around the table without any further prompting. Marlowe instantly jumped on my lap, and I began with my first reading selection, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom-a riveting alphabet tale. Throughout the story, the class listened intently and smiled and giggled every time I emphatically read the words, “chicka chicka boom boom!” When I closed the book and said “The End,” one child even clapped. I was presently surprised in their interest in the story and it didn’t end there. Marlowe quickly hopped off my lap and selected another book for me to read. I continued to read story after story for the next forty-five minutes.
I could not have been more impressed with each child’s enthusiasm and attentiveness, especially given their young ages. Participating in this event reinforced to me the importance of storytelling and reading to children. On a less important note, reading to Marlowe and her classmates also brought me more joy and fulfillment than anything else I’ve done in recent memory. I look forward to doing it again.
Claire Thomas is an associate in the firm’s Nashville office. Her practice is devoted to civil trial practice in the state and federal courts of Tennessee and Florida, with a focus in the areas of premises liability, products liability, automobile liability and general tort liability. Ms. Thomas has represented a wide range of entities including theme parks, designers, manufacturers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, banks, and the State of Florida.