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Lampton Elementary ‘Read Across America’ Day A Community Tradition of Friends, Family, Food and Fun

“I am of Japanese-Hawaiian descent, and in my culture it is important to have food,” said Fujimora, who catered the first Read Across America Day at Lampton in 2000 herself. “We want our readers to be nourished and happy! I am so proud of how this wonderful day has evolved over the years.”

Lampton’s Dr. Seuss celebration is divided into two sessions. In the morning, close to 50 readers from the community sit in on K-5 classes for 30 minutes of story time. In the afternoon, nearly 200 parents arrive for a “Book-nic” on the Lampton lawn. For Lampton students, this may be the most anticipated day of the year.

“The students love it. They love Dr. Seuss and all of the decorations and the way the teachers dress up in red and white. Most of all they love being read to,” NLMUSD Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian said. “Reading books is the ideal gateway to knowledge and imagination, and instilling a love of reading is one of the best things we can do for our children.”

Two Lampton students who have realized the benefits of literacy are fifth-graders Melody Castro and Isaiah Mercado, who are both enthusiastic readers with authors they cherish: Gary Paulson for Castro and Syd Hoff for Mercado.

“What I like about reading is that I can learn so many things and develop a strong vocabulary,” Castro said. “I recently read a book that explored the ocean depths. I was fascinated by it. It made me want to learn more.”

Lampton principal Cindy Rayburn credits Fujimora and current Read Across America Day coordinators, third-grade teacher Rosemary Segal and fifth-grade teacher Elisa Erickson, for cultivating an enduring event that resonates with so many in the community.

“They contact all of the readers and reach out to the parents, and make sure we have plenty of good food,” Rayburn said. “This year we had a red-and-white striped “hat” layer cake and green-eggs-and-ham-themed pretzel snacks.”

Lampton is just one of several NLMUSD elementary schools that celebrate Read Across America Day. On Tuesday, March 2, Glazier Elementary students watched a special screening of “The Lorax,” and Moffitt Elementary held “Wacky Wednesday” when students dressed as their favorite Dr. Seuss characters. On Friday, March 4, Dulles Elementary had “Cat in the Hat Day” and New River Elementary had a Read Across America picnic.