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Youth celebrate literacy, Dr. Seuss

Jonesboro United Methodist preschooler London Philistin, back, and kindergartner Daijah Hampton, front, listen intently. Jonesboro branch library youth services assistant, Jennifer Pelt, read Dr. Seuss books Tuesday in recognition of Read Across America Day, officially celebrated March 3. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

Jonesboro United Methodist preschooler London Philistin, back, and kindergartner Daijah Hampton, front, listen intently. Jonesboro branch library youth services assistant, Jennifer Pelt, read Dr. Seuss books Tuesday in recognition of Read Across America Day, officially celebrated March 3. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Preschoolers and kindergartners from Mt. Zion Childcare and Learning Center, and Jonesboro United Methodist Preschool took part in a read-in of all things Dr. Seuss as part of the Jonesboro branch library’s celebration of Read Across America Day. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Jennifer Pelt, the youth services assistant at Jonesboro branch of the Clayton County Library System, uses props and sounds to engage area preschoolers and kindergartners during aread-in celebrating Read Across America Day. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Schools and libraries throughout the Southern Crescent celebrated the National Education Association’s Read Across America program this week in conjunction with the March 2 birthday of famed children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Jonesboro United Methodist preschooler Keaton Garcia, right, peeks in for a look at a Dr. Seuss book as Jonesboro branch library youth services assistant, Jennifer Pelt, reads to youngsters in recognition of Read Across America Day. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

JONESBORO — The children sang the sounds of farm animals, clock mechanisms and household pets.

Dozens of preschoolers and kindergartners from Mt. Zion Childcare and Learning Center, and Jonesboro United Methodist Preschool are familiar with the narrative stylings of Jennifer Pelt.

Wide-eyed youngsters Austin Le, Carlton Hayes and Keaton Garcia were particularly interested in the stories as their classmates Daijah Hampton, London Philistin and Chaeli Allen were among the most active in the groups, waving their arms and singing their responses to Pelt’s questions.

Pelt is the youth services assistant at the Jonesboro branch of the Clayton County Library System, and she reads to the children once a month. But on Tuesday, she donned a colorful, under-sized top hat nearly reminiscent of “The Cat in the Hat,” written by Theodor Seuss Geisel, the children’s author better known as Dr. Seuss.

The Jonesboro branch library celebrated his March 2 birthday with a Dr. Seuss read-in Tuesday. The activity followed the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day national recognition Monday.

“Literacy is one of the key components to success in life,” said Pelt. “Every child deserves to be given the opportunity to develop their literacy skills beginning by listening to stories and then gradually emerging as enthusiastic readers themselves.”

NEA’s year-round Read Across America program, now in its 17th year, focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships and reading resources. The association provides tools for promoting literacy at its website at www.nea.org.