March 3, 2012 in Washington Voices

U-Hi drama students act out for Read Across America

By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Loren Mellick plays the judge in the dramatization of “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” at Chester Elementary School on Wednesday.
(Full-size photo)

Students at Chester Elementary School received a visit from the University High School drama department Wednesday to help them celebrate Read Across America Week.

The week is held in conjunction with Dr. Seuss’ birthday and encourages children to read every day of the year. Activities at Chester included visits from Central Valley’s administrators and community volunteers, who read to the students, a morning of reading by flashlight and special stories during class.

Wednesday’s visit had drama students performing plays adapted from drama teacher Briane Green’s personal library of children’s books.

“I just got the idea when I was reading to my kids,” Green said.

University High School students took about three weeks to prepare for the event. They wrote the scripts, picked their own costumes and acted out the plays for the students.

Green told the Chester students that some of the actors were performing for the first time in front of an audience.

“We hope you like all the stories,” she told them.

The stories included “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” by Laura Numeroff; “Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type,” by Doreen Cronin; “Guess How Much I Love You,” by Sam McBratney; “Green Eggs & Ham,” by Dr. Seuss; and “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” by Jon Scieszka.

That last story was a humorous courtroom drama revolving around a case of the Wolf, who claimed he was just looking for a cup of sugar to make a cake for his Granny and was misunderstood by the pigs.

Principal Cindy Sothen said students from U-Hi often visit Chester for special activities since the schools are near each other. In fact, the U-Hi students walked to the school wearing their costumes.

“They’re our big sister,” Sothen said.

Librarian Irma Gross said the U-Hi students visited last year and performed Dr. Seuss’ “Daisy Head Mayzie.”

The Chester students each received a book to keep from the Kiwanis Children’s Book Bank.

The first-grade students also sang songs from “Seussical Jr.” during an assembly Monday. The week was scheduled to wrap up Friday with a cake-decorating contest in which students adorned cakes with their favorite Dr. Seuss characters. Everyone was encouraged to dress like their favorite story character and enjoy the cake during an assembly Friday.

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