Rea View Elementary received a special treat Friday, March 2, when State Superintendent of North Carolina Public Schools Dr. June Atkinson visited the school to read to a handful of students.
Atkinson’s visit was in conjunction with Read Across America Day, a nationwide movement sponsored by the National Education Association that takes place each year on or around the birthday of Dr. Seuss. The endeavor strives to encourage students of all ages to enjoy reading and further their learning.
“We need be sure to keep that fire going in all of our students, the fire of learning,” Atkinson said.
Principal Donna Cook was excited to have Atkinson visit Rea View and take time to interact with its students. “It was very exciting for us to host someone of her status as a guest reader,” Cook said. “It just really helps students understand people of all ages love reading.”
Coinciding with Dr. Seuss’s birthday and the opening of the movie of the same title, Atkinson picked “The Lorax” as the book read to a classroom full of second grade students. At the end, she discussed the moral of the story with the students.
Hands flew up around the room as Atkinson asked the students what lessons can be learned from reading “The Lorax.” Multiple responses were given, such as “don’t pollute,” “plant another tree when you cut one down” and “respect nature.”
Atkinson agreed with the students’ answers and congratulated them on their insight. “It’s important that we take care of our environment,” she told the students.
Atkinson made another stop at a fifth grade classroom, where she read her own children’s book, “A T-Shirt Named Z.” Through the story, Atkinson explained determination, resilience and empathy and highlighted the importance each of these characteristics has on learning.
To gain insight into the student’s perspectives, Atkinson asked the students what they believe could be done to improve the schools. Answers such as “proper lighting,” “technology in the classroom” and “healthier lunches” were voiced.
Atkinson ended both reading sessions by asking the students to give a big round of applause for their teachers and their hard work.
“Our teachers are doing a magnificent job with the students,” she said in a later interview. “I like to come to the schools to tell them thank you.”