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Deep Strike Soldiers celebrate Dr. Seuss, reading

Email   Print   Share By Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson, 41st Fires Bde. Public Affairs
March 8, 2012 | Living
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Captain Peter Crosswaite, commander Btry. C, 2-20 FA Regt., 41st Fires Bde., reads Dr. Seuss’ tongue teasing book “Fox in Socks” to students Friday at Meadows Elementary School. Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson, 41st Fires Bde. Public Affairs
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Colonel William McRae, commander, 41st Fires Bde., reads to a classroom of students during National Education Association’s Read Across America Day in honor of the late Dr. Seuss, held at Meadows Elementary School Friday. After the story, McRae conducted a question-and-answer session with the children discussing what they wanted to be when they grew up. Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson, 41st Fires Bde. Public Affairs
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Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade read to some of the students attending Meadows Elementary School Friday during the National Education Association Read Across America Day in honor of the late Dr. Seuss. The children were able to pick Soldiers to sit with and have the Soldiers read to them or read to the Soldiers. Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson, 41st Fires Bde. Public Affairs
One kid, two kids, learning to read.

Soldiers who read will satisfy kids’ needs.

Read, read, read, the children say and plead.

Show the storybook to complete this deed.

Soldier, Soldiers – Soldiers, are we all?

One is short, while the other is tall.

A Soldier here and a Soldier there.

It’s all at the elementary school fair.

As the creativeness of Dr. Seuss travels across Central Texas and throughout the nation, the Soldiers and leaders with the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery, 41st Fires Brigade departed the reality known as Fort Hood, crossed through Whoville, took a quick break in Thneedville, and eventually resurfaced in the classrooms of Meadows Elementary School to participate in the National Education Association’s program Read Across America Day, where Soldiers helped spread the importance of reading to the students there Friday.

The Read Across America Day program falls on the birthday of the children’s author Theodor Suess Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, because of his literary contributions to young readers. The program has been running since March 1998.

The Dr. Seuss books inspired the children and faculty members to dress up as Seuss-like characters and decorate the school’s halls with Seussville themes.

Approximately 30 Deep Strike Soldiers jumped into Dr. Seuss-filled worlds and read some of their favorite stories to the children.

“I read the ‘Fox in Socks’ and ‘The Lorax,’” said Capt. Peter Crosswaite, commander, Battery C, 2-20 FA Regt., 41st Fires Bde. “I enjoyed reading to the children at Meadows Elementary School. ‘Fox in Socks’ used to be my favorite Dr. Seuss story when I was a kid. I forgot how much of a tongue twister it was though.”

Through the twist and turns of the fun-to-read words in the Dr. Seuss books, which flowed through the Soldiers, the children were hooked. During the event, the teachers and staff made sure to focus on the importance of reading, but they also remembered that the day was a birthday celebration.

“This day (Read Across America Day) was set aside for reading and celebrating a great author’s birthday,” Sibyl Sheppard, a kindergarten teacher at Meadows Elementary School, said. “I’m happy that a lot of our volunteers came over to celebrate with us and to help get the children excited about reading. It’s very important for the children to know that you can learn through reading.”

Even though a lot of the Soldiers who volunteered did not have any children of their own, they said they felt honored to celebrate with the school.

“It’s a privilege to come out and read to possibly some of our future leaders,” Col. William McRae, commander of the 41st Fires Bde., said. “I believe that our children need to see us read, so they will build that desire that want to read, and then they can grow up open and willing to learn.”

McRae read several books throughout the day, but he said his favorite story was “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”

“It’s a very special feeling when you’re in that chair reading to the students,” McRae said. “When you’re up there reading, for a brief moment everyone can see you for who you are – a person, a citizen within a community – and it feels like we’re all part of one big Family.”

Although Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’ birthday is once a year, the Deep Strike Soldiers have pledged to continue to volunteer at Meadows Elementary School, whether the school is in session with a fox or packed away in a box, up T.J. Mills Boulevard and down a few blocks. Standing in the rain that downpours heavily, waiting to salute morning reveille.
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