The 'doctor' is in


Staff writer

Students at Mirror Lake Elementary School enjoyed a respite from the classroom Tuesday when they paraded through the school wearing “Cat in the Hat” hats, each holding a hand-drawn poster of their favorite books.

Fifth-grader Sophia Rodriguez dove into the festivities, parading through the school wearing a “Cat in the Hat” pajama set complete with fluffy nighttime slippers.

She said she wanted to show her school spirit and she wants to do it again next year.

“Dr. Suess is a great writer,” Sophia said.

The day began with guest speaker and children’s author Derek Munson, who described the writing and publishing process of his book “Enemy Pie.”

It continued with a special school lunch featuring Fox in the Box Tots, Hop on Pop Peas and Cindy Loo Who Chicken Nuggets.

Next came the all-school Cat in the Hat Parade, followed by students participating in a national read-in after they returned to their classrooms.

It was no typical school day. Tuesday was the sixth annual national Read Across America Day, organized by the National Education Association to get kids excited about reading.

It was also the anniversary of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s 100th birthday.

The school has celebrated Read Across America Day in years past, but teachers decided to make this year’s an extravaganza.

“It’s an easy way to get kids excited about an author,” said Reading Corps Vista leader Sarah Hersted. “It’s like a whole day that makes reading fun.”

Mirror Lake has heavily emphasized literacy and the development of reading skills for years. The school’s literacy specialist and site supervisor for the Washington Reading Corps, Carol Novotney, helped plan this week’s event.

Students are taught literary theory, are rewarded with prizes for reading books and are tutored 1-on-1 with AmeriCorps volunteers in colorful and decorated rooms that nourish a burgeoning reader. There’s a fantasy reading room, a historical fiction room and a biography room, among others.

Fifth-grader Earl Stevenson said his favorite part of the celebration Tuesday was the Suess-inspired birthday lunch. He chose “Green Eggs and Ham” for his poster and said he enjoys the rhymes in the book.

And fifth-grader Joyce Harden said her favorite part of the day was the parade. She read a poetry book in class, and she writes poems.

Ten-year-old Elijah Pearson said he likes the book “Hop on Pop.”

“It has rhymes, and I like rhymes,” he said.

Each student received a free book of their choice. And while they read quietly in their classrooms, the Cat in the Hat himself bounded into each room, passed out snacks and praised readers. Actually, fifth-grade teacher Chris Andrews donned the weighty cat costume and acted goofy.

The whole school got into it –– from principal Kent Cross, who high-fived parading students, to physical education teacher Pamela Rasmussen, who also donned a Cat in the Hat costume.

During the read-in, several Target employees from the Federal way store visited the school and read aloud to students.

“It seemed like this was a real exciting event for them, and we just wanted to be a part of it,” said Target employee Sinie Aldous. “We pride ourselves on doing at least one volunteer project in the community per month.”

Funds raised by the Mirror Lake PTA made the Suessentennial celebration at the school possible.

Staff writer Elizabeth Ciepiela: 925-5565,

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