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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

Celebrating Read Across America Week locally

courtesy photo

It’s common sense, but I’ll write it anyway: without readers, we wouldn’t be in business.

No newspaper would be in business. Neither would the people who publish magazines, books and everything online that involves the written word.


That’s why events like Read Across America Week are so important. They champion reading and readers each March. Read Across America Week begins on March 2, which is the birthdate of Theodore Geisel.


You probably know him better by another name: Dr. Seuss, the famous author of some of the most beloved children’s books ever written.


I’m sure you’ve all heard of the book The Cat in the Hat? It’s one of my favorites.


The week celebrating reading runs from March 2 to March 6. Since it is organized by the National Education Association, a lot of the events from the national to the local level will involve students in the schools throughout the country.


In Hammonton, like in other places, people will take some time out of their day to stop in and read to those students.


I’m proud to be among those people. The book I’m scheduled to read to the kids at the Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center is called Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems.


The entire month of March is dedicated to reading, so if you’re already reading yourself or reading to your kids, keep it up and do it more often.


If you aren’t reading yourself or reading to your kids, Read Across America is as good an excuse as any to start.


I was a very early reader. My parents always read to me. Last month while speaking about the 25-year history of this newspaper to the Historical Society of Hammonton, I mentioned that one of my favorite books growing up was The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. It was purchased by my parents for us to read. I must have read it dozens of times, and its message always stuck with me.


“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”


I remember the book fairs at the elementary school when I was a student there. It’s comforting to see that they are still being held. We have photos from the most recent book fair in our paper for this week’s Our Town section.


Kids love books, and have their favorites, just as I did—and you probably did—when we were their age.


Maybe you can think back to a book that influenced you when you were young? It could be when you were in elementary school, but it could go up to your college years or when you were a young adult.


Send me the titles of the books that inspired you, and I will put together a follow-up column about those books later in March.


I’m interested in what books had an influence on you, Hammonton. Send me the books that mattered (and matter) to you at donio@hammontongazette.com


As for Read Across America, it’s always encouraging to see an event where adults read to interested young people. Because they’re interested, they pay attention. And they laugh at all the right places.


In addition, there is always a feeling that you’re passing on knowledge to the next generation, and that someday, the students you read to will return the favor by reading to the next generation as well.


Having a month dedicated to reading that kicks off on the day one of the most influential children’s book authors was born isn’t just fitting, it’s a perfect opportunity to celebrate our favorite customers: the readers who make this newspaper possible.


This week, I’ll be reading to the latest generation of future Gazette readers as I participate in Read Across America. I can’t think of a better way to spend part of my week than reading to a classroom of students at the Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center.

Gabriel J. Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.

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