Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson read books to students at Childcare Network School in Conway on Thursday as part of the national campaign, Read Across America.

The program is designed to promote year-round literacy, National Education Association (NEA) officials said. NEA founded the campaign.

Though Read Across America Day falls on March 2 — the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, the author commonly known as Dr. Seuss — the campaign runs through the month.

Hutchinson went from class to class at the Conway school reading books to the children, who showed their enthusiasm during story time.

Kayla Williams’s class of 3-year-olds were treated to Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham.”

“It is Dr. Seuss’s birthday this month and he wrote a lot of books,” Hutchinson told the class. “He wrote books way back when I was a little girl. They’re kind of silly but sometimes they help us learn to read. Some of them are fun to say because they rhyme.”

Three-year-old Caleb, whose mother Ateca Williams works in the first lady’s office, lit up when his mom walked in with Hutchinson.

“Mom,” he squealed with delight, running to give her a hug.

“I can’t compete with that,” Hutchinson said with a laugh. “It’s all about mom.”

After the reading, Caleb said he really enjoyed meeting the first lady and hearing the story.

“It was fun,” he said.

About Read Across America

The NEA launched the campaign in 1997 with a small reading task force that wanted to generate interest in reading with an event similar to a pep rally for a sporting event.

The first event was in May but the group decided to continue with it and hold it in March in honor of the well-known children’s author.

As the program has grown, more than 50 nonprofits have partnered with NEA to host events and continue the mission.

For more information about the campaign or the NEA, visit http://www.nea.org.