Dobbs makes reading fun for kids

We all remember the books. From Dr. Seuss' 'The Cat in the Hat,' to 'Green Eggs and Ham,' and 'Oh the Places You'll Go,' to other classics that children have been reading for years. They have been staples in the development of kids for decades, books that have been passed from generation to generation.

On Friday afternoon Joshua Dobbs got into the Dr. Seuss spirit, reading to kids at Gill Hall Elementary as a part of Read Across America. Dobbs read to three different groups, including kindergarten and first graders, then second and third graders, and fourth and fifth graders, sharing with them his love of reading.

"It's something I like to participate in every year, giving back to the community," said Dobbs. "Trying to have a positive influence on the kids. However I can give back and be a positive influence, I always jump at the opportunity."

Read Across America is a reading initiative that was created by the National Education Association and is celebrated in schools and libraries across the country. The program is celebrated each year on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss, but isn't limited to one day, with many schools making it a week or month long celebration.

"We make our own version and call it Gill Hall Reads Week," said Michelle Gardiner, reading specialist at Gill Hall. "They love it. It's by far their favorite week of the year. We decorate every part of the school we can. We have a door decorating contest where the teachers all decorate. It really brings the school alive, it's a lot of fun."

Among the activities the school has during the week is having high school students come in and read to the kids and do activities, as well as have a day when therapy dogs are brought in and the Gill Hall students read to them.

But having Dobbs there took it to another level.

"With Josh it's our culminating activity," said Gardiner. "It's a fun way to end the week. It is awesome to have him here. So often the kids hear teachers and parents tell them how important reading is, and how far reading can take you and how if they start that love of reading at an early age, where it will take them. Having him come in and read to them solidifies what we do each and every day here and what parents do also.

"It's like a recharge for the kids. February is that long haul between Christmas and the Easter/spring break. This is a great way to energize them."

Dobbs said his favorite books as a kid were the "A Series of Unfortunate Events," reading all 13 of the series and understanding how important reading was as a kid, and still is today.

"Reading is crucial to your success," said Dobbs. "The way you think, the way you act every day, is based off what you put in your head, in your mind, and what you read on a daily basis. If you are always reading good books, you will continue to grow as a person."

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