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Press Release
West Side Elementary Celebrates Read Across America with Dr. Seuss by sponsoring a Door Decorating Contest

Ms. Sherlona Riley Contest Winner

West Side Elementary School March, 2010: Read Across America is sponsored by the NEA, National Education Association on March 2. This project is now in its thirteenth year and is celebrated each year across the entire United States. Under the Helena-West Helena School District, West Side Elementary School began its Read Across America month long celebration on March 2, 2010 along with the rest of the nation. As a part of the West Side Elementary celebration, all of the teachers at West Side were asked to design their door with a Dr. Seuss theme. Although, there were several entries, there could only be one official winner. This year's winning Dr. Seuss Door Decoration Honor went to Fifth Grade educator, Ms. Sherlona Riley. Her theme was taken from Dr. Seuss' book entitled If I Ran a Zoo. Ms. Riley utilized this theme as a demonstration of incorporating literacy into her innovative door design. "The fun aspect of decorating our door was seeing my students pull together in order to succeed at a common goal."

Although, the door is beautiful to view, students were put to the test by "Dr. Seuss"! Ms. Riley had been working diligently with her fifth grade students. The students worked relentlessly to acquire as much knowledge as possible about Dr. Seuss and his love of literacy expressed through his engaging children's books. All of Ms. Riley's students were required to read at least four books by Dr. Seuss. After students completed their reading assignment the real test began, each student was required to score 100% mastery on the accelerated reading exam in relation to their readings by Dr. Seuss. With Ms. Riley's encouragement, over 90% of the fifth grade students were able to accomplish this goal. When asked what sparked and inspired her creative talents for their class door, Ms. Riley replied, "I teach my children to integrate all learned concepts into every aspect of the topic at hand. We utilized the title from one Dr. Seuss text, some of the characters from another text, and different animals representing several species as a tie to science in the creation of our class door".

There were several participants in this creative showcase. Highlighting the fun of reading and allowing students and teachers to express that love of literature through artistic expressions was the crown jewel in a month long celebration embracing the importance of reading. The NEA strives yearly to be certain that on March 2 of each year all children across the nation are reading in the presence and care of a responsible adult. Literacy is the foundation of all educational pursuits, big and small. With Ms. Riley's fifth grade class leading the way, other doors within West Side Elementary highlighted the fun of reading and creativity. However, the grand prize of "official winner" can only be held by one, with that being Ms. Sherlona Riley's fifth grade class! West Side Elementary School would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ms. Riley and her students on a job well done. Hats Off to all of the educators and students at West Side Elementary for a job well done during their Read Across America celebration!

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