Helper, Donna Cerna, left, uses hand puppets as author Carole Cliffe reads from her book, "Alowishes (cq) Unusual Birthday" for a group of transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students at Santa Clarita Elementary School in Saugus in celebration of author Dr. Seuss' birthday on Thursday as part of the Read Across America program, now in it's twentieth year. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Students across the Santa Clarita Valley hit the books Thursday in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America Day.

The 20th annual event was commemorated at schools and libraries across the country to celebrate the birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss, and to promote the love of reading and learning.

“All throughout the country you have people coming into the classroom from different walks of life and reading to children,” said Ken Newton, a 6th grade teacher at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School and the school’s Read Across America Day coordinator.  “For Dr. Seuss Day it’s about reading and making it memorable.”

Actor Corey Feldman reads the book “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut” by Dr. Suess for the students at Fair Oaks Community School in Canyon Country on Thursday in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and as part of the twentieth annual Read Across America event on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Read Across America Day at Fair Oaks Ranch has become an event on its own that has gained state, national and international recognition for its activities.  Newton even takes the day off to organize classroom visits, coordinate with volunteers, support students and welcome participants.

“The kids remember this,” Newton said.  “Nice, supportive, awesome people come to read to the students.”

Fair Oaks students on Student Government also help Newton organize readers, lead participants to classes and take photos.

“I’ve done this before and it’s been really fun,” fifth grade student Taylor Reahy, 10, said.  “It’s fun because there are really special people that are coming.”

Actor Corey Feldman is mobbed as he signs autographs for students at Fair Oaks Community School in Canyon Country on Thursday. Feldman came to the school to read a Dr. Seuss book in celebration of Seuss’ birthday and as part of the twentieth annual Read Across America event on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

This year 35 individuals read to students from Transitional Kindergarten (TK) to 6th grade.

Participants included “The Goonies” actor Corey Feldman, Los Angeles Clippers Spirit members, California Highway Patrol officers, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Clippers, FBI special agents, Sulphur Springs School District staff, coaches and teachers.

“Kohl’s has been doing this for years,” said Leah Olson, assistant store manager for Kohl’s Canyon Country store.  “It feels good to volunteer.”

Al Ferrara, a former major league baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds, said the experience is always rewarding.  He regularly attends events, like Read Across America Day, on behalf of the Dodgers.

“It’s always my pleasure to deal with these children and it’s just as rewarding as getting a base hit,” he said.  “I get pumped for this.”

Fourth grade student Amayah Taylor, 10, said she loves reading and listening to different people who volunteer for the day.

“I like reading because it can take you into different places and out of this world and into wonderful, imaginative places,” she said.

Grace Franyutti, 5, center, wears a “Cat in the Hat” hat as she joins her kindergarten classmates as they hold hand puppet characters from the book “Alowishes (cq) Unusual Birthday” during a presentation for students at Santa Clarita Elementary School in Saugus on Thursday as part of the Read Across America event. Dan Watson/The Signal

At Santa Clarita Elementary School, students celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday with week-long activities and dress up days called “Crazy Wacky Week.”

“All week we did a wacky week of different things every day,” Parent Teacher Council (PTC) President Laura Hughes said.

Throughout the week students wear stripes, mismatched socks, green, crazy hats and pajamas to celebrate the author and his stories.

Students also participated in assemblies where they heard author Carole Cliffe read her books “Raps, Riddles and Rhymes,” “Shaping Up Your Character A-Z Mathematically” and “Alowishes Unusual Birthday.”

“The kids love her,” Hughes said.  “They love having her come.”

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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Christina Cox
Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.
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