DECATUR – Read Across America at Muffley School is a family affair.
Principal Carrie Hogue and instructional coach Libby Kirkland decided to take the words “Read Across America” literally and incorporate technology into the annual celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday.
Thanks to cooperative family and friends of Hogue's, students at Muffley enjoyed stories read to them over Skype from Gallup, N.M.; Tulsa, Okla.; Houston, Texas; Tampa, Fla.; Kennett Square, Pa.; Boston, Mass.; Grand Ledge, Mich.; and Air Force Airman Preston Wade, son of a retired teacher, who planned to read from Eagle River, Alaska.
Hogue's parents, Ron and Barb, joined in the fun by attending Friday to get a glimpse of her brother, their son Jared, who is creative director of Church on the Move in Tulsa.
“Who's that old man in the back of the room?” Jared Hogue asked when he caught sight of his dad over the Internet.
Ron Hogue knelt in front of the computer so his son could see him, deepened his voice into his best Darth Vader impersonation, and intoned, “I am your father.”
The elder Hogue joked that he and his wife like to “keep an eye” on what their daughter is up to at school and couldn't resist dropping in for the event.
Jared Hogue read “The Book With No Pictures,” which is mostly about what an awful book it is and how the reader never, ever wants to read the book again, and he did so with great gusto. He was a children's pastor before he began his current job.
“I liked it,” said Cherish Yates, a fifth-grader. “He put a lot of expression into it.”
Besides being fun, Carrie Hogue said, doing Read Across America this way gave the children a glimpse into life outside of Decatur. Her sister-in-law in Houston told them it was 60 degrees, and she'd had to bundle up in her heaviest coat because, in Houston, that's a chilly day. To Illinois kids living where the mercury hasn't been above freezing lately, that was astounding.
One reader mentioned it was 3 p.m. at her location.
“The kids were all saying, 'Hey, we get out of school at 3,'” Hogue said, “so we had a lesson on time zones.”