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Read Across America

Theodor Seuss Geisel – best known as Dr. Seuss, the word-warping, tall-tale telling, children’s book author – would have celebrated his birthday Tuesday, had he still been alive.

To commemorate Seuss’ birth in 1904, as well as the nationally proclaimed Read Across America Day, nearly 600 South Tahoe Middle students volunteered their time for cross-age tutoring at Tahoe Valley Elementary.

“Schools all across America are doing something special today,” said Candy Mumford, special education teacher at Tahoe Valley. “Here, middle school students picked out books within specific age groups and are reading them to K-5 children.”



For the middle schools students the event was part of their service learning project, funded through state grant money.

“The project is about combining community service with classroom learning,” said Diana Reiner, sixth-grade teacher and service learning grant facilitator at the middle school. “This is the first time we’ve done this specifically at another school. The kids were really excited to do it.”




Clearly, tutoring came naturally to many of the students. Eleven-year-old Lisa Tonarelli, for example, chose to read “Hound and Bear” to her assigned kindergarten partner because she felt it was a good learning tool.

“I like little kids and I like reading,” Tonarelli said. “So this is really fun for me.”

And her pupil got quite a lot out of the experience too, including a moral to the story.

“I learned never to be mean to people because it hurts their feelings,” the 6-year-old explained as she colored a pine tree with a green crayon.

According to Tahoe Valley kindergarten teacher Cynthia Horn, the event

has long-term value for the the younger children.

“I feel that, for the kindergartners especially, reading aloud with them will show them that books are important,” Horn said. “But also, the one-on-one coloring and number instruction is something which we can’t usually provide them with.”


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