Perris elected officials joined other volunteers this week to participate in the annual “Read Across America” that honors legendary child author Dr. Seuss.
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch spent his morning Thursday reading to classes at Railway Elementary School in the City’s south end.
A day earlier, City Councilwoman Tonya Burke took time to read at Manuel L. Real Elementary School west of the City.
Read Across America honors the late Dr. Seuss, whose many books remain a staple of reading favorites for parents of toddlers and elementary-school children. Volunteers from business, civic, education, public safety and government take part in the yearly salute.
Busch visited four classrooms at Railway, reading “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” the story of a boy named Marco with an imagination so vivid it “turns minnows into whales.”
Before starting each session, he told the students the importance of reading, both for business and pleasure.
“Reading is important because you will be doing it your whole life,” Busch said. “If you don’t know how to read, it makes your life so much more difficult. You read all the time. You read when you’re cooking. You have to read messages on television and you have to read road signs. You will have to know how to read for work but today we will be reading for fun!”
Busch clearly enjoyed reading to classes that ranged from first to sixth-graders. He pointed out pictures on the pages of the text and provided commentary on Marco’s colorful imagination, which creates out of a simple horse and cart scenes complete with elephants, Indian rajas, chariots, a brass band and airplanes dropping confetti. All as he walks home from school one day.
“It seems like the father he walks, the more his imagination works,” Busch said.
Railway principal Rob French said business and civic leaders taking the time to read to students leaves a positive impact.
“One of the visions of our schools is to connect the community with the classroom and this is a great way to do it,” French said. “It’s important for the students to see community and City leaders interact with them.”
Burke read to fifth-graders at Real elementary school, which is named in honor of a longtime Federal Judge, who also attended. Burke read Seuss’ book “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and later posed for photos with the judge and students who listened to the reading.
The experience was a trip down memory lane for Burke, who said she read the same Dr. Seuss book to her children. The book relates the story of a boy and girl named Jay and Kay and the creatures they have for pets.
“It was a pleasure,” Burke said. “It’s my favorite Dr. Seuss book. It’s a story that always makes me feel better. The students were engaged and animated. It was a great day.”
Burke called reading one of the foundations to a successful life, one that is important for role models to pass on to the current generation of elementary school children.
“You can’t get far without a good foundation,” Burke said. “I love to read and I read every chance I get.”