Second-graders from Hawthorne Elementary raise their hands for more pizza during a visit to City Hall on Tuesday for Read Across America Day in Albert Lea. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune
Second-graders from Hawthorne Elementary raise their hands for more pizza during a visit to City Hall on Tuesday for Read Across America Day in Albert Lea. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Youth literacy campaign is part of Read Across America Day

Published 10:26am Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen declared Tuesday to be Read Across America Day in the city, and he celebrated the importance of reading with a group of Hawthorne Elementary School students.

The second-graders gathered around the mayor as he signed a proclamation, then went on a short tour of City Hall before they sat down to enjoy a pizza lunch.

The visit was a culmination of events held in February at all of the elementary schools in the district for I Love to Read Month. The schools held reading contests and hosted children’s book author Nancy Carlson, among other events.

“Literacy is their ticket to having a successful life,” said Mary Jo Dorman, district literacy specialist.

Second-grade teacher Anne Jerdee said Hawthorne students read more than 12,000 books last month.

“I liked the tour and getting to see the mayor’s office,” said Jaxson Rosas, 7.

Classmate Jal Thoat, 7, agreed. He said it was his first time meeting the mayor.

Each student received a hardback copy of “Cat in the Hat Comes Back,” signed by Rasmussen.

Dorman said students from one school in the district are selected to meet with the mayor each year for the event.

She said the pizza was paid for with a Freeborn County Communities Foundation grant and the books came through nonprofit First Book.

Nixon