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Thu, Nov. 14

No grinch today

Courier/Les Stukenberg
Coyote Springs Elementary School student Delanie Clark dumps a bowl of Jell-O onto the head of Principal Susan Fahrni during a celebration of the school reaching its reading goal and of the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Clark earned the honor for being the top reader in kindergarten at the school.

Courier/Les Stukenberg Coyote Springs Elementary School student Delanie Clark dumps a bowl of Jell-O onto the head of Principal Susan Fahrni during a celebration of the school reaching its reading goal and of the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Clark earned the honor for being the top reader in kindergarten at the school.

Whether watching their principal smooch a pig, or laughing as their teachers' boss snorkeled through a pool of Jell-O, elementary school kids around Prescott celebrated the birthday of children's author Dr. Seuss all day Friday.

Schools all around the nation commemorated Read Across America Day in honor of Theodor Geisel.

"Reading is just the most important thing you can learn in school," said Lincoln Elementary School principal, Frank Lawhead, during an assembly where he kissed a pig to reward his students for spending a approximately 1,369 hours reading. "We want to make sure it becomes a part of you."

The students ate green eggs and ham Friday morning Washington Traditional School and Mountain View Elementary School. Mountain View principal JoAnne Bindell dressed up as the "Cat in the Hat" and read to various classrooms throughout the day.

Over at Miller Valley Elementary School, Principal Susan Clark said many of the school's classes read the "Cat in the Hat" at exactly 2:36 p.m.

"Fifty years ago today, (Dr. Seuss) was given a challenge to write a book using 236 basic words," she said.

Geisel, was the first children's author to use innovation, humor, outlandish creatures and imaginative settings in his stories, many tri-city school principals said. Using his mother's maiden name, "Seuss," he wrote books that changed the face of storytelling for children.

"I think the kids are all so familiar with his books ... it's so catchy, his way of writing," said Granville Elementary School principal, Bev Harvey. "They know they're celebrating reading with someone who loves to read."

At Granville, students picked a favorite storybook character to dress up as, then showed off their costumes during a 1 p.m. parade. A few schools ­ such as Humboldt Elementary and Lake Valley Elementary ­ had special guest readers come to their classrooms, like Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog who read to students at Lake Valley.

Coyote Springs Elementary School students enjoyed watching their principal, Susan Fahrni, snorkeling in a kiddie pool of green Jell-O. And, those students who read the most got to pour Jell-O on her head.

"I did it to encourage students to read," Fahrni said.

At Liberty Traditional School, the second-grade team coordinated a Literacy Night Thursday evening, where each teacher picked his or her favorite book and made a craft for that story. Taylor Hicks Elementary School did a similar event, where Principal Brian Moore brought a group of about 50 kids to school the same night. They all sat under a tent, in their pajamas, and read their favorite books. During Read Across America Day, Taylor Hicks had a "Stop, Drop, and Read" theme, where everyone must have a book in hand and read for 10 minutes whenever Moore announced over the intercom.

More than anything, Read Across America is about fun. Many principals agree that Dr. Seuss's stories don't just touch children.

"(His work) connects with probably the widest range of ages," Clark said.

Contact the reporter at slopatin@prescottaz.com

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