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Freeman Health Systems holds Cat in the Hat Reading Event

One way to get children interested in reading is to introduce them to books and characters that will impact them for the rest of their lives.

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Children at the Freeman Learning Center say goodbye to The Cat in the Hat, a famous Dr. Seuss character, as they leave a reading event held by Freeman Health Systems and Ozarks PBS Kids.

That is what happened on Thursday inside the Freeman Learning Center when Freeman Health Systems held the Cat in the Hat Reading Event. 

Pre-school-aged children filled the event center and were first greeted by notorious Dr. Seuss character Cat in the Hat. After giving the famous feline a kind greeting, Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker, Chief Financial Officer Steve Graddy and Freeman Cardiologist Dr. Ryan Longnecker each took time to read their favorite Dr. Seuss book to the children. 

“This event today was so much fun, and I look forward to it every year,” Baker said. “Just watching the children at the learning center and how excited they get when the Cat in the Hat walks in. Watching their faces as we read the stories, it’s just a fun, fun day for me.” 

What book did Baker choose to open the event with? A Dr. Seuss Classic— “I’m Not Going to Get Up Today”.

“I really like that book,” Baker said. “It was a book I read to my son. It talks about not wanting to get up in the morning and I think the kids—and the adults in the room—can relate to that. 

Following Baker, Graddy read the kids “Oh Say Can You Say, What’s the Weather Today” before Dr. Longnecker finished the event with “Oh Say Can You Di-No-Saur”.

“I really hope this experience today will inspire them to want to go home and read with their parents or grandparents to really begin that love of reading,” said Baker.

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Dr. Ryan Longnecker reads from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh Say Can You Di-No-Saur” to kids at the Freeman Learning Center on Thursday.

The event was organized by Freeman Healthy Systems and Ozarks Public Television to help promote reading skills and develop the kids’ love of reading.

“This is so important to be able to provide this experience for the children,” Baker said. “If we can teach children a love for reading, that is a gift that will serve them well for their entire lives. The best way to give them that gift of a love for reading is to read to them and with them. 

“Reading helps them develop cognitively and emotionally very, very significantly. When they are reading as a little one, they continue that love of reading. It helps their brain develop, it helps them express emotions appropriately, it gives them an opportunity to interact and to really think through situations. It’s very valuable.”

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Freeman Chief Financial Officer Steve Graddy reads from Dr. Seuss’ book “Oh Say Can You Say, What’s the Weather Today” to kids in the Freeman Learning Center on Thursday during the Cat in the Hat Reading Event.

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