NEWTON, NJ – Newton’s Merriam Avenue School had help celebrating Love of Reading week. On Thursday, Dr/ Seuss’ birthday celebration was made more special by guest readers from the Halsted Middle School. They gathered in the elementary school’s media center to get their books and their assignments.

They dispersed through the familiar hallways, some pointing out artwork from their days at Merriam Avenue, others recollecting a teacher they had when they were younger.

Gemma Meade and Abby Berkowitz read “Knuffle Bunny Too” to Anne Jhong’s first-grade students. 

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The children in Lynn Bastek’s first-grade class were treated to Angelico Villaruz reading “If You Give a Pig a Pancake.”

The second-grade students in Mike Sheein’s class listened with attention to Erin Fucito and Kendall Goldschmidt present “Piggie Pie!” They not only read but took turns acting out the story with hand gestures and facial expressions.

Tamara Barkman and Natalie Tagnetti read “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” to Senora Smith’s youngsters. 

An impromptu session took place on a rug in the hallway outside of physical education instructor Margaret Waldron’s gym.  Melissa Sanchez and Kim Segura-Romero read “I Will Surprise My Friends” by Mo Willems. 

Brendon Reid read the tongue-twisting Dr Seuss book “Gerald McBoing Boing” to a music class. 

Other guest readers were:

  • Luca Morello and Peter Van Orden read “The Sneetches” by Dr Seuss
  • Derek Ravshanov read “The Three Robbers” by Tomi Ungerer
  • Morgan Conklin read “The Frog Prince Continued” by Jon Scieszka
  • Krissy Crepeau read “Walter the Farting Dog” by Audrey Colman
  • Ivy Nisler and Jess Vasquez read “Tiki Tiki Tembo” retold by Arlene Mosel
  • Asher Smith and Isaiah Wilkins read “And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street” by Dr Seuss
  • Gabby Zukowski read “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak
  • John Ayes read “Limu the Blue Turtle” by Kimo Armitage

The benefits of this program were two-fold; young students had interesting guest readers and the older students got to practice concepts they were learning in their language arts class.  The eight grade students of Jean Perrier have been learning about articulating and presenting through public speaking including reading out loud.  They practiced they stories as well as developed questions about the books that would be interesting, appropriate and engaging for the younger students.

“We discussed how to deliver a book; how to hold it, show the illustrations.  They needed to look at the book using young childrens’ eyes,” said Perrier.

On her way back to the media center after her reading session Morgan Conklin said, “The kids were ecstatic.”