Principal Danielle Yoder fit right in with teacher Donna Weidel’s kindergarten class at Penns Valley Elementary and Intermediate School.
On Thursday, many students wore “Cat in the Hat”-type hats to celebrate Read Across America Day.
Yoder was no exception, donning a knitted red and white top hat.
Read Across America Day is a national reading celebration held annually on March 2 — Dr. Seuss’s birthday.
Teachers and students in the Penns Valley Area School District hold events every year to promote literacy among their students.
This year, ninth-grade English teacher Jill Geesey and PVEI kindergarten teacher Lori Sullivan rekindled a partnership that they started about 15 years ago, but which went by the wayside for several years.
“This is kind of a reprisal of something we did many years ago called the K-9 Program that involved kindergarten and ninth-graders,” Sullivan said. “It was similar to a buddy system that allowed the students to connect, but that program ended, and I’ve been happy we can do something like this this year.”
Geesey’s students wrote short stories based on the theme, “If not me, then who?”
She said it’s a way to write about social responsibility in a way that children can understand.
Some students even styled their books after Dr. Seuss. The ninth-graders visited PVEI throughout the day Thursday to read their books to the kindergarteners.
“They’re writing for a real world audience and engaging with the younger kids,” Geesey said.
Freshman Marina Good wrote and illustrated a short story called “The Adventures of Oscar the Otter.” It was about an Otter who learned a little bit more about the world it lives in, all while educating the reader about how otters are going extinct.
She sat in the hallway with kindergarten partner Riley Immel, who often rested her head on Good’s shoulder while listening to the book.
High school English teacher Mike Farley and his students also participated in the event, teaming up with Weidel’s kindergarten class. .
Both kindergarten classes are immersed daily in reading, writing and comprehension, but Thursday’s event
“It’s a huge part of what we do, but today is special and you can just tell by the looks on their faces they’re loving it,” Sullivan said.
That, she added, helps spark excitement for literacy.
“It’s totally cool,” Cameron Etters, 5, said. “I like to read a lot.”
He was partnered with freshman Orion Moore, whose book, “Leonardo Learns Life Lessons,” was about a leopard seal that was a bully to a penguin. In it, the seal learned why it’s unacceptable to bully others.