The Annual Read Across America program is a call-to-action for children and adults to celebrate the joy of reading, in correspondence with Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd. Most schools turn the event into a week-long celebration, with fun activities marking each day.
Freedom Elementary has been celebrating each day with a new Dr. Seuss book, and Wednesday’s book was “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”—a popular choice for bedtime.
So of course, at 9:00am Wednesday morning, nearly the entire school was gathered in the gymnasium dressed in their pajamas, robes and slippers.
These grade-schoolers weren’t the least bit sleepy, though—especially when the Principal announced Wednesday’s special guest reader, none other than Jill Donovan, founder of Rustic Cuff.
We’ve written about Donovan before, and most of you probably know her story: after graduating from ORU and later TU, and then practicing law for 8 years, she started Rustic Cuff from the floor of her guest bedroom. Today, you can find her designs in more than 350 boutique stores across the country.
She says she’s heavily inspired by her daughters Ireland and Peanut. It was Peanut that she decided to test a story out on before she came to visit Freedom Elementary—she’d made it up herself. Unsurprisingly, it was about a princess named Peanut.
At the end of her home-grown story, her daughter told flat out: “stick with the regular story, mom.”
And so she did, choosing to read Dr. Seuss’s novel, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut”.
Before she began her story however, she called to the audience and asked, “Does anyone have a birthday, today?”
In the back, 5th-grade teacher Mrs. Urea sheepishly raised her hand. “I do,” she said.
Jill marched her to the front of the gym, telling everyone when they were going to sing happy birthday to her. And when they had, Donovan gave her a very special gift: the Rustic Cuff on her wrist.
Donovan proceeded to read the story to the students with fervor, asking their participation at opportune times. The more times the opportunity came up, the more students got involved. By the end of the story, the entire gym was gasping and cackling.
It was clear that a good time was had by all.
For her part, Jill Donovan seemed to genuinely enjoy herself, opting to read the stories a second time to the Pre-K students who couldn’t be a part of the mass celebration in the gym.
Other activities for the Read Across America Week included crazy clothing options for each day of the week, and a “Door Parade,” where the school walked around to see all the classroom doors decorated special for the occasion.
Featured Image: Jill Donovan with the Freedom Elementary Pre-K students on Wednesday’s Read Across America celebration.