By Ryan Cornell
FRONT ROYAL -- Students at Hilda J. Barbour Elementary read for a collective total of 374,130 minutes last month.
That's the equivalent of 6,235 hours, 260 days or 4,562 showings of "The Cat in the Hat" starring Mike Myers.
Dressed up as the rascally feline from the Dr. Seuss story, reading teacher Cathy Burrola stood on the cafeteria stage with second grade teachers Jill Harold and Michele Landry, who wore "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" costumes. Students and teachers celebrated a February full of reading and the 110th birthday of Dr. Seuss on Friday for Read Across America Day.
Read Across America Day is typically celebrated in schools across the U.S. on the school day closest to March 2, Seuss' birthday, but it had been rescheduled due to snow.
"We read on the days that we eat," Burrola told the gathered kindergarten through fifth grade students. "That means we read every day."
According to Harold, if every child at Hilda J. Barbour read for 20 minutes each day of February, the total time would equal about 333,000 minutes. The students surpassed the school's goal, reaching 374,130 minutes.
Students brought graphs home and colored in the amount of minutes they read at home each day, Harold said.
Students also donated $900 to the Warren County Humane Society, nearly triple the school's goal of $333, as well as a large collection of pet food, treats and cleaning supplies.
"Dr. Seuss loved animals," Burrola said.
She said they had developed the idea for the event while attending a reading specialist program at Shenandoah University last summer.
Landry stressed the significance of daily reading.
"I hope they get a sense that their actions can make a difference out in the community," she said. "And hopefully that reading is important and you need to do it every day you can."
Read Across America Day is scheduled at the New Market Area Library from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Monday and at the Basye-Orkney Springs Community Library from 4 to 5:30 p.m. March 15. The events will be celebrated with guest readers, green eggs and ham and make-your-own "The Cat in the Hat" hats.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org