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Students ‘embrace their differences’ with activities in the spirit of Dr. Seuss

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SARASOTA COUNTY, Feb. 28, 2017 – Several elementary schools in Sarasota County will celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, Thursday, March 2, which has been designated as Embracing Dr. Seuss’s Differences Day as well as Read Across America Day. Some schools have planned activities throughout the week.

The events welcome volunteer readers into schools to read favorite Dr. Seuss books aloud to young students. Throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties, the reading activities are being encouraged by the organization known as Embracing Our Differences, which seeks to help people of all ages understand and appreciate their differences as well as their similarities.

Embracing Our Differences is partnering with elementary schools and the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, with support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Patterson Foundation, the Manatee Community Foundation and the United Way of Manatee County, to celebrate the birthday of the beloved children’s book author and illustrator. Born Theodor Seuss Geisel, he is known throughout the world by his pen name, Dr. Seuss.

The Embracing Our Differences website quotes the author, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” The site also notes that, “Dr. Seuss epitomizes a love of children and learning. His use of rhyme makes an effective tool for teaching young children the basic skills needed to be successful in an ever-changing world. When we celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading, we send a clear message to our children that reading is fun and important.”

The Dr. Seuss books that will be read to children at schools by guest readers include “The Cat in the Hat,” “Horton Hears a Who,” “The Lorax” and “The Sneetches.” Besides being fun to share with their whimsical rhymes and outrageous drawings, the stories have important lessons for readers of all ages.    

The following are among the many activities scheduled for schools in Sarasota County:

Ashton Elementary School, 5110 Ashton Road, Sarasota:

On March 2, Principal Chris Renouf, Assistant Principal Jacob Ruscoe and other staff members, as well as members of Dedicated Ashton Dads (DAD), will read to students in more than 30 classrooms to celebrate literacy. School hours are 8 a.m.-2:45 p.m.

Wilkinson Elementary School, 3400 Wilkinson Road, Sarasota:

The school will have guest readers at all grade levels March 2 as part of the Embracing Our Differences project. Throughout the week, Wilkinson and other schools are matching Dr. Seuss books with certain days and themes, including Wacky Wednesday (“wear your wackiest socks” and read “Fox in Socks), Theodor Thursday (“dress like your favorite Dr. Seuss character” and read “Horton Hears a Who”) and Funny Food Friday (“wear the color green and read “Green Eggs and Ham”). School hours are 8:15 a.m.-3 p.m.

Alta Vista Elementary School, 1050 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota:

Guest readers from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., March 2, will include Patterson Foundation Governing Board Chairman John Berteau, and Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County Executive Director Jim Shirley.

Fruitville Elementary School, 601 Honore Ave., Sarasota:

The school will welcome readers from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., March 2, including School Board Chairwoman Caroline Zucker, who will share a book with a fifth grade class at 10 a.m.

Lamarque Elementary School, 3415 Lamarque Ave., North Port:

From 9 a.m.-2 p.m., March 2, North Port Mayor Linda Yates, City Commissioner Debbie McDowell and Executive Director of Elementary Education Laura Kingsley, firefighters and police officers will read to students.

Cranberry Elementary School, 2775 Shalimar Terrace, North Port:

The school will host “Bedtime Stories Family Night” from 5:45-7 p.m., March 2, for students in grades K-2 and their families. The theme will be “The World of Eric Carle and Dr. Seuss.” 

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