State Leaders Read to Canton Students
Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal and State School Superintendent John Barge visited Sixes Elementary School for Read Across America Day.
Laura Uszenski’s kindergarteners at Sixes Elementary School sat quietly on the floor of their classroom as they listened to Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal and State School Superintendent John Barge read to them on Read Across America Day.
They were captivated, and being able to have various adults read to them and being allowed to dress up like their favorite storybook characters makes reading more exciting, principal John Hultquist said.
“When they see adults come back and read, it shows them reading crosses many boundaries,” Hultquist said.
While seeing adults read is important for children, Barge said visiting schools like this is important to him because education is the great equalizer.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from,” Barge said. “It doesn’t matter who your parents are.”
Reading, he said, can open up doors.
“We’ve visited classrooms where students haven’t ventured outside their hometowns,” he said.
Not only is visiting important for the children, but it’s also important for the teachers, Barge said.
“I like to encourage the teachers because they have such a hard job,” he said. “Public education tends to take such a beating.”
Although Read Across America Day fell on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, Deal decided against reading a Dr. Seuss book, choosing instead the book Who I'd Like to Be, which was written by 90-year-old Elizabeth Brown of Georgia and illustrated by an 8-year-old Georgia student.
“I thought it was a perfect match,” said Deal, a former teacher.
After leaving the kindergarteners, Deal stopped by Deana Trott’s first grade classroom to read to those students.
“I enjoy going into schools and reading to children to show them how important it is in their lives.”
Brown’s niece, Cherokee County School District employee Pam Colvin, was at Sixes Elementary to read to a class and had no idea the governor’s wife was going to read her aunt’s book.
“This is almost making me cry,” Colvin said.
Teachers and other employees also dressed up, and the front of the school was donned with Dr. Seuss decorations. In one room, a cake and cupcakes decorated for Read Across America Day were set out with other refreshments.
“So many of the staff took part in dressing up,” Hultquist said. “It really shows (the students) that you care about it. Reading is fun, and we want to promote that angle.”
Deal also gave the school seven copies of Who I'd Like to Be, one for the media center and one for each of the six kindergarten classrooms.
“It was important to her that they have these books,” Hultquist said.