UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, P-20 Initiatives host 'Read Across America'

event at ITC

"Read Across America" participants at Institute of Texan Cultures

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(March 20, 2012) -- Nearly 100 elementary school students from the San Antonio ISD recently visited the Institute of Texan Cultures for the second annual "Read Across America Day," commonly celebrated on or near Dr. Seuss' birthday, March 2.

The students enjoyed the ITC's Dome Show, which covers the history of Texas, and also sang "Happy Birthday" to Dr. Seuss. The program included a reading of Seuss' "The Lorax" with KENS-TV chief meteorologist Bill Taylor. Other guests included UTSA's Rowdy mascot, HE-Buddy and a special visit by The Cat in the Hat and Thing's 1 and 2.

First published in 1971, "The Lorax" chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler. Through Seuss' clever rhymes, tongue twisters and zany illustrations, the students received a great message about taking care of the environment.

"It's important to stress the importance of literacy at a very young age, and what better way to get children excited than incorporating a book by Dr. Seuss," said Darrell Balderrama, director of outreach programs in the UTSA Office of P-20 Initiatives. "The 'Read Across America' celebration is a national event to promote literacy amongst children and adults. The event coincides with Dr. Seuss' birthday which made the selection of his book an easy choice."

Children and guests explored the exhibit floor, where they heard stories from various Texan cultures read by UTSA students.

"We had a range of stories including Native American trickster tales, 'The Zebra Riding Cowboy' by Angela Shelf Madearis, about an African American cowboy, and 'Todos los Colores de Nuestra Piel' by Katie Kissinger," said Lynn Yakubik, an educational specialist with the museum. "We chose books that would be enhanced by the fact that the children were surrounded by the exhibits in our different cultural areas."

The UTSA Office of P-20 Initiatives works to increase the college-going rate of Texans by assisting students that traditionally have been underserved and underrepresented in higher education. As a comprehensive university and system wide effort, the Office of P-20 Initiatives promotes educational access and college readiness through collaborative programming.