United Way, USCB to celebrate 'Read Across America' with tutors, books and the Cat in the Hat

United Way of the Lowcountry

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” Dr. Seuss

As part of the nationwide celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday March 1, United Way of the Lowcountry and The University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) are partnering to spread the love of reading. 

From 2-5 p.m. on Friday, March 1, the library lawn at USCB's Hilton Head Gateway campus located on Hwy 278 in Bluffton will sport tables, tents and happy readers celebrating the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Local authors and USCB faculty members will take center stage on the steps of the library and read from their favorite children’s books. Some will read in languages other than English.


Geisel published 46 children's books, known for their imaginative and cartoonish characters and compelling rhymes -- which helped capture the interest of very young readers. Some of his best-known books include the Green Eggs and HamThe Cat in the HatOne Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue FishHorton Hatches the EggHorton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!


As part of the local Read Across America project, United Way of the Lowcountry and USCB are seeking favorite quotes from favorite books from Beaufort and Jasper county residents. The quotes will be featured in social media postings about Read Across America. To share, email Ann-Marie Adams at AAdams@uwlowcountry.org.


United Way of the Lowcountry is recruiting volunteers to tutor in eight Beaufort and Jasper county elementary schools. The goal is to have students reading at grade level by fourth grade. Already some 300 people are volunteering their time and talent, but United Way needs a minimum of 600 volunteer tutors to achieve the goal.


Tina Gentry, new CEO of United Way of the Lowcountry, hopes the Read Across America event will encourage additional reading tutors to sign up to help elementary school students achieve grade level reading by the time they enter fourth grade. For details about volunteer tutoring opportunities, contact Jill Briggs at 843-837-2000.


USCB is a regional leader in teaching teachers and boosting literacy through their Early Childhood and Elementary Education baccalaureate degree programs.  The university is hosting this week's Read Across America event through its Education Club.


The afternoon events are free to all.


What:           An exciting afternoon celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday with reading, games,  storytellers, face painting and crafts



When:          Friday, March 1,    2-5  PM 


Where:         Library Lawn, USCB, One University Boulevard, Bluffton


A selection of the readers on tap for the day...


2:15 p.m.  Reader: Tim Johnston, Author & Editor

Reading: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

Personal statement on the reading: Maurice Sendak created a timeless classic with "Where The Wild Things Are." As a child in the sixties, it was this book which awakened me to the wonder and power of stories. I must have read "Where The Wild Things Are" at least a hundred times as a little boy, and now I've read it to and with my own children on as many occasions. Like the groundbreaking work of Dr. Seuss, Sendak's story uniquely entertains and teaches, as all of the best stories do. "Where The Wild Things Are" reveals and celebrates not only a child's use of his imagination in the wake of anger, but also a child's ultimate trust in a parent's love.  The love between child and parent is revealed in an unconventional but uplifting and undeniably true fashion. I loved this story as a boy, and now I love it even more as a dad.

About the Reader: Tim Johnston is a short-story author and educator, and serves as senior editor of Short Story America, which has published two acclaimed anthologies of contemporary short fiction (web address www.shortstoryamerica.com). Tim writes short fiction under the byline of T.D. Johnston. He also works as editor and mentor to new and emerging writers in all genres of fiction and nonfiction. Tim also hosts Third Thursday Short Stories, a free readings event at Short Story America at 7 pm on the third Thursday of every month. Short Story America is located in Beaufort, at 2121 Boundary Street in Beaufort Town Center.


2:30 p.m.  Reader: Joan C. Harris, Author

Reading: Clyde’s Dog by J. C. Fewell (12 storybook pages)

Personal statement on the reading: Clyde’s dog really did attend Port Royal Elementary School. He played to outfield or short stop on the kickball team. You can hear his excited bark today if you stand real still on the stairs.

About the Reader: J. C. Fewell is the pen name for Joan C. Harris. She returned to the Low Country in 2001 to tell and write stories. She is the author of Hurricane Sisters, a collection of short stories.


2:45 p.m.  Reader: Alex Moody, Writer & Editor                

Reading: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (parts of first 2 chapters should fit the 15 minute mark)

Personal Statement on the reading: In fourth grade Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth was like a free bag of candy. Dejected, bored Milo and his journey into the Kingdom of Wisdom provided relief from math problems, poor penmanship, and halfhearted science projects involving large balls of clay painted to resemble Jupiter. We were, for the days we discussed The Phantom Tollbooth, encouraged to explore concepts like "your imagination," and it's around that time that I decided making up stories was the only thing I could do. Now the book engages me on a second level: I like to imagine Juster writing The Phantom Tollbooth, laughing at the absurdity of it all, enjoying his work, unafraid of the sidelong glances he must have received when a cocktail party guest asked him, "So, what are you working on, exactly?" and all he could come up with was something like, "It's a pun-filled fantasy grammar adventure about a boy and a highway and a dog and some princesses that need rescuing and I think it's got potential, I really do."

About the Reader: Alex Moody is a writer from Beaufort, SC. He's taught creative writing and composition at Vanderbilt University, University of South Carolina-Beaufort, and the Nashville Young Writer's Workshop, and his stories have appeared in a variety of journals and magazines.


3:00 p.m.  Reader: Stephanie Austin Edwards, Author

Reading: Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss 

Personal Statement on the reading: My mother sent this book to me after I left New York City and my career in theater, to return to beautiful Beaufort, South Carolina. She always told me there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do, but starting over is never easy. With this book she reminded me that if I always followed my heart, “oh, the places I could go.”

About the Reader: Stephanie Austin Edwards worked in the field of Broadway, film, and television in New York City, for over twenty years, as a dancer and a costumer.  In 1996, she returned to her high school roots in Beaufort, South Carolina. Stephanie is a writer, teacher of writing, and has facilitated Lowcountry Women Writers since 2002.  Besides encouraging the growth of other writers, she is an avid user of technology, writes and publishes short stories and essays, and hopes to have her first novel, What We Set in Motion, published soonwww.stephanieaustinedwards.com