It was surely a fun day at Pelican Elementary School Monday as parents, dignitaries and one NFL star stopped by to read to the kids at its Read Across America event on Monday.
The school this week is celebrating the life and birthday of Dr. Seuss with readings of his most popular books and other activities.
On Monday, it was about reading to the kids as roughly 60 people came to share their love of reading and discuss the material they read.
Stephen Grady Hayford reads the Dr. Suess classic “Green Eggs & Ham” to the students in Mrs. Vidal’s third-grade class at Pelican Elementary School during its Read Across America event Monday.
Mary Jo Vidal, the third-grade teacher who helped put the event together, said it had become a tradition to invite guests to share their love of reading.
"Reading goes beyond the classroom. Grown-ups read all the time, too. We've been doing this since Read Across America started (in 1998)," Vidal said.
"The NEA thought we had pep rallies for sports, but nothing to get kids excited about reading, and because of the work of Dr. Seuss, we decided on March 2, his birthday," added Lisa Burtz, media specialist at the school.
The great thing about Dr. Seuss books is that they have a message. Stephen Grady Hayford came into Vidal's class to read the classic "Green Eggs & Ham" a book which teaches people to be willing to try new things.
Hayford asked the students what the kids don't like, and was surprised when most of them answered seafood.
"What is with you and seafood? You live in Florida, it's practically an island," Hayford said, to many laughs.
Next door, in Mrs. Mickuliet's room, Sal Rodriguez and his daughter, Ani Starodub, eschewed Dr. Seuss and read about puppies and kittens. It was there where Rodriguez taught the children an important lesson about reading.
"You learn words in the book and what it's talking about. You can also read between the lines. There are always lessons that go along with the story and apply them in your life," Rodriguez said.
Other readers included firefighters, police officers, Lee County head librarian Linda Riczo and School Board member Mary Fischer.
Meanwhile, in another section of the school, Nate Allen, a former Cape Coral High football standout now playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, was in Mr. Segal's class reading to the students about persevering and doing your best, with the help of friends and former coaches.
"It's a good thing to be involved with, to read to the kids and encourage them. It's a positive thing," Allen said. "It's about hard work and more than just sports. It's about grades, and the people you hang around with. I've been able to play four years in the NFL, but this is what it's all about, talking to the kids and being a role model."
When he was finished, he signed autographs and took pictures with students, teachers and parents before going to his next class.
"The biggest thing is we're doing it for the kids and improve literacy across the board. That's what Dr. Suess and Read Across America is about," said Pelican Principal Ed Carter. "We got every entity to come by and show support for our students. We're having a fantastic time."