Students, families to invade mall to read

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2003

Books, storytelling and a play will fill many families' afternoon this Saturday at Oak Park Mall.

Local schools are hosting Reading on the Mall to coincide with the National Education Association's Read Across America, which promotes reading and celebrates author Dr. Seuss's birthday.

In its 18th year in Austin, Reading on the Mall lasts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event attracted about 300 people last year.

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Ruth Robinson, a second-grade teacher at Neveln Elementary, has been organizing the event with the help of other Austin teachers and staff.

"It's a day that's especially highlighting literacy and reading activities," Robinson said.

Seven of her students are performing "Rabbit and Tiger," a story from their reading textbook.

Older students will be reading books to younger students. Adults also will be reading books to children.

The library will have a display and people can bring paperback children's books for a book swap.

The Parent Teacher Committees from all local schools donated money toward the event.

Reading on the Mall is just a precursor of the official Reading Across American Day on Monday. The late Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born March 2. Because March 2 is a Sunday, NEA decided to celebrate the day on Monday.

At Neveln Elementary Monday, second-graders will enjoy a breakfast of green eggs and ham.

Ellis Middle School students will be rockin' and readin' in the school's library. Students will rotate to keep six to eight rocking chairs moving during the day while they read.

At 1:45 p.m. Superintendent Corrine Johnson has asked schools district wide to "drop everything and read," Robinson said.

Read Across America, now in its sixth year, was started as a way to promote reading and encourage parents to become more involved with their children's reading habits.

"It's nice to see parents and children reading together," Robinson said.

Robinson said children today are involved in many more activities, which take time away from leisure reading. Each grade level, however, requires children to read outside of class, she said.

Robinson has noticed that she reads more often to her students during class than in the past. They also cover more subject areas and writing styles.

"We put more emphasis on reading," she said.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at