By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Red and white, for one and all. They were dressed to the nines in hats so tall. Stripes here, stripes there. Stripes everywhere.
Roosevelt Elementary teachers, students and staff came together with more than 700 “Cat in the Hat” hats to celebrate the National Education Association’s Read Across America program on Friday.
NEA has provided grants and has held events during Read Across America for 17 years with Dr. Seuss. On Monday, the Seussical celebration kicked off a week of reading across the nation as NEA members, students, parents and community members shared their love of reading. This annual reading motivation and awareness program calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.
This year Roosevelt Elementary, with nine other elementary schools across the state, participated in Read Across America by attempting to break a Guinness World Record — the most people wearing “Cat in the Hat” hats in multiple venues. All 10 Oklahoma schools had to wear their “Cat” hats for 20 minutes at the same time, Beth Gilberg, first grade teacher and event coordinator, explained. NEA donated 200 hats to Roosevelt and students made paper hats in class as well. Friday’s event was rescheduled from Monday because schools were closed due to inclement weather.
“We don’t have the exact number yet, but we hope to have over 2,000 (hat-wearers) with all the schools combined,” Gilberg said.
After excitedly counting down the seconds to 10 a.m., the clock started ticking and “Cat” hats remained in place while students sang songs and Cat in the Hat, played by Kyla Clemons, speech pathologist, made a special appearance.
Additionally, Feed the Children, which provides disaster and emergency assistance to people in need, donated books to every student at Roosevelt. Erin Carlstrom, director of education programs, said the organization donated about 4,000 new books total.
“Education is an important part of what we do, feeding the mind and body,” Carlstrom said. “So anything that we can do that supports literacy is important to the organization. We’re all so happy to see the kids excited about reading today.”
For more information about NEA or Read Across America, visit nea.org.
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