The March 2 birth date of Dr. Seuss may have been the catalyst for Read Across America Day, but that didn’t prevent guest readers at Herndon Elementary School from reading from volumes not about green eggs or ham.
"We just finished a unit on the Civil War," said Linda Elstad, 15-year Herndon Elementary School fourth grade teacher. "It's part of Virginia History taught in fourth grade."
Herndon Town Councilman Harlon Reece visited Elstad’s class last Friday morning and read from Eve Bunting’s "Blue and Gray." He showed the class pictures from the book and explained concepts from it as well. After the reading, Reece encouraged the class to read and told them about the evils of war. "I went to Vietnam." he said. "It was bad."
Max Instead, 10, of Herndon said he likes reading books about war and also comic books. "It’s important for people to read so people can learn things, and it’s fun to read," he said.
"Sometimes people don’t read a lot and this can get them into the habit of reading," said Instead's classmate Emma Burke, 9, about the importance of Read Across America day.
"Dr. Seuss was a really good author and everyone loved his books," said Fairfax resident Brenna Darrock, 8, in the French Immersion program and a student in Joni Coutry’s third grade class.
Coutry, a Herndon resident teaching at Herndon Elementary for 17 years welcomed Herndon Police Senior Sgt. Donald W. Amos as a guest reader in her classroom.
Many of the guest readers came from Minerals Management Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of the Interior located in Herndon and a decade-long corporate partner with Herndon Elementary.
"MMS likes to give back and contribute to the community," said partnership coordinator and economist Kim Coffman. "The children are our future. Reading is fundamental — nice cliché, but it’s true. If you can’t read, your opportunities in life are limited. It’s a gateway to a world of opportunity. This is especially important here with a student body where so many languages are spoken at home. It’s important to read and speak good English as well as treasure their own linguistic and cultural heritage."
"It’s important to emphasize how much reading is crucial in life," said Herndon Elementary School principal Carolyn Gannaway. "If you’re not able to read, you won’t be able to learn or find out what opportunities are available. You won’t be able to enjoy yourself very much."
"I’m a rocking chair traveler," said Gannaway, who is in the process of planning a real trip to Hawaii with her husband. "You can go anywhere, anytime, just by opening a book and reading."