Pelham students celebrate Read Across America Day

PELHAM – A group of Pelham police officers spent part of the day on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and Friday, March 2, reading to students at Pelham Oaks and Pelham Ridge elementary schools as a part of Read Across America Day.

Each day during the week, students at each school participated in different activities leading up to Read Across America Day, Friday, March 2, which is also the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss.

Five PPD officers read to students at Pelham Ridge and four officers stopped by Pelham Oaks to help students celebrate. Officer Paul Martin, the School Resource Officer at Pelham Oaks, said he enjoys working with students and getting to interact.

“Reading a book to a class is positive way to interact with kids,” he said. “You’re not dealing with any of the negative stuff. This helps to humanize us in their eyes.”

PPD Community Relations Coordinator Ainsley Allison said the PPD’s partnership with Pelham City Schools is vital.

“We want kids to see that we’re their friends, we’re here to protect them and help them in any way we can. It’s a fun way that the officers can build relationships early on with kids.”

Allison also said that it’s important for adults to show children that they like to read, too.

“If we can show them that we enjoy reading as adults, then they’ll maybe want to read more, too,” she said.

Pelham Oaks Principal Deberah Miller said the week leading up to Read Across America Day was a bit different from past years. She said teachers at the school wanted to take different approach to the week.

“In the past we’ve done dress up days and pajama day, but this year we took a different approach,” Miller said. “The teachers wanted to focus on the academic aspect of it and on the idea of readers being leaders.”

Grade levels compared fiction and nonfiction books on same topics and then created graphs to visually display their comparisons. They also researched and compared various authors.

First grade students also participated in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activity by having a competition to see who could build the tallest hat that would remain standing in honor of the book “The Cat in the Hat.”

The second-grade students’ STEM activity including building a nest to protect Horton’s egg in honor of the book “Horton Hears a Who.”

Third grade students created a timeline of Dr. Seuss’ life using an online timeline generator. Fourth grade students solved a “Seusstastical” mystery by observing the crime scene and reading alibis for evidence.

Fifth grade students wrote, directed, filmed and edited a commercial for “Green Eggs and Ham.” During physical education, various physical activity stations were based on Dr. Seuss books.

Miller said it seemed like students like the change.

“Just watching their faces and their reactions while participating in some of the activities was so wonderful,” she said. “And I can’t thank the Pelham Police officers enough for coming to read to our students. It’s very important to have interactions with community leaders.”