Monday February 19, 2024

Read Across OKCPS

Read Across America was launched in 1998 to celebrate and encourage reading, as well as to highlight the impact of the unforgettable Dr. Seuss, who was born on March 2, 1904. Dr. Seuss published his first children’s book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” in 1937 and went on to delight both children and adults with 50 additional published titles.

Read Across America hosts events in schools and communities across the country, designed to underscore the many benefits of reading, including brain stimulation, vocabulary development, increased memory, increased writing skills and knowledge. Benefits that are less widely known are that reading can increase overall health. It can lower blood pressure and even fight symptoms of depression. Reading can also slow down the cognitive decline caused by aging.

The inaugural Read Across OKPCS event will take place on March 8 and will provide an opportunity for the entire Oklahoma City Public Schools community to enjoy reading and literacy activities together. It is said that education is the great equalizer, but it all starts with reading, and building early habits is key.

Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms will welcome guest readers made up of district leaders who will work in tandem with members of the community. There may be a sighting of Pete the Cat and other Dr. Seuss characters, among other highlights! And, Mayor Holt is expected to pay a visit to a school to read as well. In addition, all Pre-K and Kindergarten students in the district will receive a book to add to their home library, courtesy of the OKCPS Foundation’s ReadOKC initiative and Scholastic Books.

Grades 1-4 teachers will be reading aloud with their students at a designated time and Middle and High School teachers will engage with their students during their English Language Arts class to share about their own favorite book/read an excerpt or share their own experience with reading or learning to read as they were growing up.

Approximately 200 volunteers will be deployed to Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms. Community members interested in participating can sign up here www.okcps.org/RAO

The deadline to sign up is February 23. All volunteers will go through an application process that takes up to 10 business days to process.

There is truly no better way to gain an understanding of our schools than by spending time in them. Whatever perception you may have will change when you actually have the opportunity to see our educators and build relationships with students. This 2 -hour volunteer opportunity is a great way to meet OKCPS leaders and teachers, and spend time in classrooms filled with students focused on the joy of reading. You may just decide you want to become a weekly Reading Buddy, which is part of ReadOKC’s volunteer programming. Seeing Pete the Cat or Cat in the Hat would just be icing on the cake!

–Mary Mélon-Tully, President and CEO of the Oklahoma City Public Schools

 

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