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Officials participate in Read Across America Day

Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard reads Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” Friday to Missy Funderburk’s Kindergarten class at Lake Park Elementary School as part of Read Across America Day, which is recognized annually in honor of the author’s birthday.

Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard reads Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” Friday to Missy Funderburk’s Kindergarten class at Lake Park Elementary School as part of Read Across America Day, which is recognized annually in honor of the author’s birthday.

ALBANY — As part of a nationwide movement to get children excited about reading, there were a number of officials from Albany who participated in Read Across America on Friday.

Among them was the city’s recently-elected mayor.

Mayor Dorothy Hubbard went to Lake Park Elementary School and read “Green Eggs and Ham” to a group of kindergarten students.

“(Through Read Across America), a lot of young children can learn about Dr. Seuss,” Hubbard said. “This gives children the opportunity to understand the importance of reading and see community leaders reading.

“It sends a positive message that reading is important, and it lays down that foundation.”

Read Across America Day, held annually in honor of the birthday of children’s writer and cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel, opens the door for people to come into elementary schools nationwide and read to children in the classroom. Geisel, who wrote under the name Dr. Seuss, was born March 2, 1904 and died in 1991. Two of his most memorable characters were the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch.

From her own experience in participating, Hubbard said she has found that officials going into schools to read does make a difference.

“They seemed really into the book,” she said after doing the Lake Park reading. “This gives them an opportunity to be engrossed in it.

“It will inspire them to read more. It gives opportunities for more conversations (at home).”

Hubbard said she went to three schools to read Friday. Marie Salter, lead media specialist for the Dougherty County School System, said that Albany State University President Everette Freeman, Chehaw Executive Director Doug Porter, Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul and DCSS Superintendent Joshua Murfree also read to students.

A group of Marines from Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany were among the others that participated.

“The majority of elementary schools invite community leaders to come into schools, read and talk about the importance of reading,” Salter said. “It increases the appreciation of reading, and ties it to success in life.

“It’s good that it is done by everybody. It is a unified force of reading.”

It’s a special experience for all parties involved, the children as well as the readers, organizers say.

“Children like to see people from the community and seeing the different community leaders we have,” Salter said. “They are seeing people they don’t normally see. It has a significant impact on students.

“It is also a teachable moment for readers. They are talking to kids they want to make an impression on.”