PHOTO GALLERY: Community leaders join to Read Across America (and Vicksburg)

Published 3:59 pm Friday, March 3, 2023

Thursday was national Read Across America Day, and it was celebrated by schools across Vicksburg and Warren County.

At Dana Road Elementary School, the day was celebrated as Dr. Seuss Day. Volunteers from the community came throughout the day to the school to read Dr. Seuss’s classics to the young learners.

LaShonda Keyes, the principal of the elementary school, said that Dr. Seuss Day has been a tradition for a number of years.

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“We celebrate Dr. Seuss because he’s a big influence in reading. And reading is the foundation of pre-K through second grade. Without that foundation, you can’t build,” Keyes said. “so we celebrate the reading and the gift that Dr. Suess gave us.”

Visitors to the school included 2022 Miss Missippippi Emmie Perkins, News Anchor Howard Ballou of WLBT, and Warren County District 5 Supervisor Kelle Barfield.

Vicksburg Catholic School students also participated in a variety of reading programs this past week. Seniors at the school volunteered to read to the Montessori and Pre-K students. Sophomores were paired with second-grade reading buddies.

The team at Kiddie City Childcare and Learning Center has also been celebrating literature this week by having volunteers and staff read to their Pre-K classes.

Maria Pendleton is the director of the learning center. She said that having volunteers from the community come and read doesn’t just engage students with reading, but also exposes the children to different careers and walks of life.

“These children get to experience the adult roles in the community, and they also get to enjoy a book, which some don’t experience at home,” Pendleton said. “Parents, a lot of parents, especially younger ones, don’t realize how important it is for children to be read to on a regular basis. So we try to expose them to that.”

Pendleton said that the children are read to throughout the year, but this past week it was the main focus of activities for the students. She also mentioned that PreK in general has had an increased focus on reading over the years.

“One of our main focuses is rearing our children in a loving way to get them prepared for kindergarten. Most parents think that daycare is a babysitting institution. And at one point in time, it very well may have been. But things have changed. They’ve evolved,” Pendleton said. “And we just want to work together with childcare centers and the parents to get the children ready to further educational journey. And it just starts here.”