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Sasebo Naval Base's Chief Staff Officer Cmdr. Carol Shivers takes her turn signing a Sasebo Elementary School proclamation Wednesday in the base headquarters to designate March as Read Across America Month. Also attending the signing ceremony were, left to right, Principal Stacy Blevins, Command Master Chief Petty Officer William Lowman, and pupils Sherlyn Nocon, 9, Melissa Malong, 8, Wylene Cox, 6, Andrew Racek, 11, and Torey Dugas, 11.
Sasebo Naval Base's Chief Staff Officer Cmdr. Carol Shivers takes her turn signing a Sasebo Elementary School proclamation Wednesday in the base headquarters to designate March as Read Across America Month. Also attending the signing ceremony were, left to right, Principal Stacy Blevins, Command Master Chief Petty Officer William Lowman, and pupils Sherlyn Nocon, 9, Melissa Malong, 8, Wylene Cox, 6, Andrew Racek, 11, and Torey Dugas, 11. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Sasebo Elementary School is going to be awash next month in colored fish, green eggs and cats in hats.

But forget Christmas: The Grinch already made off with it.

All of those children’s classics — “The Cat in the Hat,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” — will be read hundreds of times to commemorate the March 6 birthday of author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

They are among the books that servicemembers and others plan to read to the school’s 300 students as part of Read Across America Month, school officials said.

Even servicemembers whose work prevents them from spending time at the school get to take part, said fourth-grade teacher Beth Martin: The school will videotape their readings.

Thursday, Cmdr. Elise Gordon, officer in charge of Sasebo Medical Clinic’s family practice, was videotaped reading “Harriet the Brave,” about the first woman to fly across the English channel.

It was an appropriate choice, Martin said, given Gordon’s background as a flight surgeon.

Wednesday, five students and the school’s principal called upon command officials. Principal Stacy Blevins, and pupils Andrew Racek, 11; Torey Dugas, 11; Sherlyn Nocon, 9; Melissa Malong, 8, and Wylene Cox, 6, signed a proclamation explaining the special emphasis on reading planned throughout the month.

To make it “official,” Cmdr. Carol Shivers, Sasebo Naval Base’s chief staff officer, and Command Master Chief William Lowmon joined the school representatives in signing the proclamation.

Martin said she also wrote a letter to first lady Laura Bush, asking her to read a story to her pupils on videotape, but she has not heard anything yet.

“It’s kind of a long shot, but worth a try, I thought,” said Martin.

March 3 will be Dr. Seuss night at the school.

Volunteer readers will be on hand, as well as a Stars and Stripes representative to talk about newspapers, she said.

The students also will create a special birthday card for Dr. Seuss.

Martin said each pupil is asked to read books, aside from their regular textbooks, for at least 30 minutes a day in March.

If they reach their goals, the classes will be rewarded with a movie at the base theater.

“What we are trying to get across is that reading is important, but it can also be very fun,” she said.

“I know it sounds cliché, but literally, reading can take you around the world.”

Or at least leave you thinking about breakfast.

Just before signing the proclamation Wednesday, Shivers asked pupil Wylene Cox if she enjoyed reading.

“I like to read,” the girl said.

And which book has she enjoyed most?

“My favorite,” Wylene replied, “is ‘Green Eggs and Ham.’”

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