Today marks Dr. Seuss's 109th birthday. Throughout the day teachers and school officials from the Hattiesburg Public School District have read some of his most famous books for read across America day - encouraging students from pre-k to the sixth grade to read. Students are expected to read at least 25 books a year.
"Research has shown that more kids read the more they comprehend and the more that they enjoy reading." Superintendent James Bacchus spent his afternoon reading the cat and the hat to a class at Hawkins elementary. "Their success depends on whether or not they're able to read at the end of third grade," says Bacchus.
According to Governor Phil Bryant 46 percent of Mississippi third graders are not proficient in reading. Schools are taking action by using an accelerated reader program which tests students' reading comprehension. Students must pass the test by 85 percent.
"They tend to pay attention and to read more carefully because they know they're going to answer comprehension questions about it," says Roseanne Crocket, Grace Christian Elementary School's librarian.
"It's going to help them with oral reading fluency, comprehension, just being able to write complete sentences," says Grace Christian Elementary Principal Debra Large.
"Many times our students are not able to go places but if they can read they can travel anywhere in the world," says Bacchus.