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Campuses go international with ‘Read Across America’

Huntsville Havoc hockey players visited Horizon Elementary School as guest readers during "Read Across America." (CONTRIBUTED)
Huntsville Havoc hockey players visited Horizon Elementary School as guest readers during “Read Across America.” (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Madison classrooms topped their tradition to ‘Read Across America’ for Dr. Seuss and instead ‘skyped’ around the world.

Every year, schools throughout the United States participate in the Read Across America campaign that pays tribute to Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) on his birthday on March 2. A weekly of activities underscores the value of reading.

“We made this a global experience. We want to prepare global citizens so we wanted to expand our horizons to include other countries,” Judy Warmath said. Warmath works as the Madison district’s coordinator of elementary instruction.

Skype software connects computer users for online conversation and viewing.

“Through innovative exercises like skyping with schools abroad and having guest readers from other countries, our teachers are making reading more fun while also broadening our students’ knowledge and awareness of other countries,” Warmath said.

First-graders at West Madison Elementary School used Skype to communicate with a first-grade class in Ontario, Canada on March 5. Students gathered in the library while principal Dr. Daphne Jah served as ‘cameraman’ with an I-Pad to transmit video and media specialist Emily Wolfe read from “Horton Hears a Who.”

Administrators encouraged teachers to recruit readers from different cultures. Also at West Madison, a female soldier from Redstone Arsenal read and talked about the various countries in which she was deployed. A French-speaking guest read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” in French and taught students a few foreign words.

Hockey players with Huntsville Havoc read at Horizon Elementary School. Students at Columbia Elementary School skyped with students in Glasgow, Scotland and Kenya, Africa. Ann Iott’s second-grade class at Heritage Elementary School communicated with middle-school students at Springhill School in a London suburb and viewed a British student reading “The Gruffalo.”

“The story captivated the Heritage kids, who enjoyed the British pronunciations,” public relations manager John Peck said. “Afterwards, they exchanged questions about school meals, dress codes (the British kids were in uniform), schoolwork, weather and other everyday life questions.”

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