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Kids and adults get in on the fun for Dr. Seuss Reading Day

Mary Pickels
| Friday, March 2, 2018, 3:54 p.m.

The noise in a Greensburg YMCA child care classroom drops from just below screech level to pin drop Friday, as infants, toddlers and preschoolers listen to Ron Ott and Stephanie DeMaro, striped "Cat in the Hat" stovepipe hats atop their heads, read "Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?"

And yes, they can moo — and pop pop, dibble dibble, eek eek, cock-a-doodle-doo, tick tock and choo choo, too.

The children happily follow the leads of Ott and DeMaro, members of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania's local operating board, as they take turns reading the Dr. Seuss classic.

As part of "Dr. Seuss Reading Day," the nonprofit is visiting six area pre-schools to read to students and gift the classrooms with donated books.

In total, 300 new books will be contributed to the learning centers.

In addition, each child will receive a gift bag with books, crayons, coloring sheets and Play-Doh, says Alyssa Cholodofsky, United Way vice president of development and impact. A grant paid for the donations, Cholodofsky says. Seton Hill University students helped pack the kits for the children.

The event also marks "Read Across America Day," an annual reading awareness day celebrated on Theodor Seuss Geisel's (Dr. Seuss) birthday, March 2.

Volunteer readers DeMaro, a business development manager for Penn State, and Ott, a recent Excela Health retiree, took turns reading the pages and encouraging the children to mimic the sounds they heard.

Ott says he enjoys reading to his grandkids.

"They try to help me along," he says, laughing.

"This (book) was one of my kids' favorites," DeMaro says.

Friday's event marks the United Way's second annual participation in Dr. Seuss Reading Day, with events planned in Westmoreland and Fayette counties.

According to a release, the reading visits connect to United Way's mission to support early education and student success. Research shows that reading books aloud to young children stimulates their imaginations and expands their understanding of the world. Hearing stories also helps them to develop language and listening skills, and prepares them to successfully learn to read.

Other YMCA pre-school programs receiving visits from volunteer readers and donations of books include Ligonier Valley, Regional Family of Laurel Highlands (Mt. Pleasant), Uniontown, Valley Points (New Kensington) Family and the YWCA Westmoreland County in Greensburg.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

Ron Ott and Stephanie DeMaro don their 'Cat in the Hat' attire and prepare to read to preschoolers at the Greensburg YMCA as part of Dr. Seuss Reading Day.
Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Ron Ott and Stephanie DeMaro don their 'Cat in the Hat' attire and prepare to read to preschoolers at the Greensburg YMCA as part of Dr. Seuss Reading Day.
Ron Ott and Stephanie DeMaro, members of the local board of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, read aloud to preschoolers at the Greensburg YMCA.
Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Ron Ott and Stephanie DeMaro, members of the local board of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, read aloud to preschoolers at the Greensburg YMCA.
This group of excited preschoolers at the Greensburg YMCA gather to listen as volunteers read 'Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?'
Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
This group of excited preschoolers at the Greensburg YMCA gather to listen as volunteers read 'Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?'
Camden Stewart, 4, gets into the spirit of Dr. Seuss Reading Day during a program at the Greensburg YMCA.
Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Camden Stewart, 4, gets into the spirit of Dr. Seuss Reading Day during a program at the Greensburg YMCA.
Hailey Horvath, nine months, waves as children filter in to a preschool room at the Greensburg YMCA for a 'Read Across America' program, celebrated each year on Dr. Seuss's birthday.
Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Hailey Horvath, nine months, waves as children filter in to a preschool room at the Greensburg YMCA for a 'Read Across America' program, celebrated each year on Dr. Seuss's birthday.
Alyssa Cholodofsky, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania Vice President of development and impact, hands donated books to board members Ron Ott and Stephanie DeMaro to distribute at the Greensburg YMCA.
Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Alyssa Cholodofsky, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania Vice President of development and impact, hands donated books to board members Ron Ott and Stephanie DeMaro to distribute at the Greensburg YMCA.
Ron Ott gets into wardrobe as he heads to the front of a Greensburg YMCA class to read to preschoolers.
Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Ron Ott gets into wardrobe as he heads to the front of a Greensburg YMCA class to read to preschoolers.
Stephanie DeMaro is ready for her close-up as a volunteer reader for Dr. Seuss Reading Day at the Greensburg YMCA.
Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Stephanie DeMaro is ready for her close-up as a volunteer reader for Dr. Seuss Reading Day at the Greensburg YMCA.
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