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PHOTOS: Memorial School Celebrates Read Across America

National program celebrated in Medfield last week as students from Memorial School participated in several literacy events.

The pre-schoolers, kindergarteners and first grade students at celebrated reading last week with an assembly, community readers, and a visit from the Cat in the Hat as part of the national Read Across America literacy program.

This past Wednesday, a Read Across America assembly was held to kick off the celebration. On Thursday, "Community Readers," including Medfield Chief of Police Chief Robert E. Meaney Jr.; Fire Chief William Kingsbury; Superintendent of Schools, Bob Magure; Medfield High School principal, Robert Parga; Blake Middle School principal, Nat Vaughn; Selectmen, Ann Thompson, Osler Peterson and Mark Fisher; Medfield librarian, Ann Russo; owner, Jim James; Bank manager, Cheryl O'Donnell; Medfield Veterinary owner, Dr. Richard Crowell and Medfield Children's Center and Pre-School teachers visited Memorial School to read to the students. 

Also on Thursday, the "Cat in the Hat" (aka Memorial parents Brittany Hardiman and Lisa McDonald) greeted the students as they arrived at school and were read to in the lunchroom.

Read Across America is a National program sponsored by the National Education Association and according to the NEA website, "Is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author, Dr. Seuss."

The events were coordinated by CSA Literacy Committee members, Michelle Callahan, Lisa O'Sullivan and Colleen Hawley in conjunction with Memorial School Librarian, Randie Groden and principal, Andrea Trasher. 

They have also scheduled a book drive benefitting the Reach Out and Read program. Callahan says this organization is important to the Memorial School literacy effort. 

"The Reach Out and Read program ties back into literacy and it's an opportunity for Memorial Students to be aware that not every child has access to as many books as we have in our schools and homes," said Callahan.

According to Reach Out and Read's website, it is "an evidence-based nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud."

In early April, author Grace Lin will visit Memorial School to read to students and sign books. 

"Meeting a published author in small groups is an intimate way to meet an author, hear what it's like to be a writer and illustrator first hand and to learn how a book gets published," said Callahan. "This is a highlight for our Kindergarten and grade one students to meet Grace Lin and have their book signed personally by Grace Lin."

Memorial School has been celebrating Read Across America for about 10 years and Trasher thoroughly enjoys having her school take part in this national effort.  

"Students can relate to Dr. Seuss books and his stories include good lessons," Trasher said. "Literacy is probably the most important skill that a child from Memorial School will leave here with. When children arrive at this school they are an 'empty slate' and because of education, there is such a transformation.  When they exit first grade they are reading, writing stories and comprehending early chapter books; all connected to literacy. Our academic priority is that the students that leave Memorial School will have solid literacy skills."

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