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First lady Deborah Bryant celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday with Vicksburg children

Reading is a lot of fun, and for boys and girls it should be done.

March 2 was Dr. Seuss’s birthday and in honor of the well-known children’s author, community leaders and volunteers read to children on Thursday as part of the National Educations Association’s Read Across America program.

First Lady Deborah Bryant was invited to read at Dana Road Elementary School.

“I have read here before and was thrilled to come back. This is a fascinating and impressive school,” Bryant said.

“The children are so enthusiastic and that means a lot to see the teachers engage these children and get them excited about learning,” Bryant said.

In April Ross’s pre-K class, students were prepared for their special visitor and following Bryant’s reading of  “The Cat in the Hat,” the children chanted, “She did a good job because she is the B-E-S-T.”

Ross said the class had been preparing for Bryant’s visit and were honored the first lady chose to return to Dana Road.

“We were very happy and really appreciated her coming back,” Ross said.

Research shows that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.

“It is so important that these kids love to read, especially at this very early age. I just hope we get them earlier and earlier to help them,” Bryant said, adding she is a big proponent of early childhood development.

The NEA kicked off the Read Across America program in 1998 and Robyn Lea got the ball rolling in Vicksburg.

As a veteran reader for a kindergarten class at Warrenton Elementary School, Lea said she was pleased with the number of people who volunteered this year, locally.

“There was a tremendous response from the community for the Dr. Seuss Birthday Read-A-Bration in Vicksburg. I’m never surprised at the response we receive when we ask people to stop their lives, drop what they are doing and walk into a classroom to read. This community gives generously of their time and today was no exception. It’s inspiring to see so many important, busy people give up their time, and I know it will make a difference to one of these children,” Lea said.

Lea said she has personally witnessed the difference reading can make in a child’s life.

“In the years I’ve been reading in Mrs. Perkins’ classroom, I’ve seen the switch flip on for a few children. Maybe at first they weren’t too interested and then part of the way through the book they would became engaged. I would notice that a student’s chair would move a little closer to mine, or they might ask if they could be the page-turner.  Last year, when I was reading “Swiss Family Robinson,” one little girl was pondering why the cave the Robinson family found was lined with a shiny white substance and why the family was licking the walls,” Lea said.

“I could see her (the little girl’s) wheels turning and then all of a sudden she blurted out, ‘It’s salt!’”

“Indeed,” Lea said, “this five-year-old had figured out it was a salt cave. That was so exciting for me to see that happen — so exciting!”

Reading helps develop a child’s imagination and instills in them a desire to read, and today’s Read Across America Program may have hooked a child on reading,” Lea said.

“Today could have been the day it mattered to a child, and one of the volunteers could have been the person that made the difference.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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