Third-grader Morgan Lamond, center, cheers after Principal Dr. Deborah Granger, left, finishes reading a Dr. Seuss story in celebration of Read Across America Day at Kaiser Elementary School on Friday. (KEVIN CHANG, Daily Pilot / March 1, 2013)

Kaiser Elementary School's principal read aloud Friday as third-graders heard how Miss Bonkers and other eccentric teachers instructed students well enough to save their imaginary Diffendoofer School.

"Miss Vining teaches all the ways a pigeon may be peppered," Principal Deborah Granger recited, "And how to put a saddle on a lizard or a leopard."

"Have we learned how to put saddles on lizards and leopards?" she asked students. "No, but we've learned lots of other amazing things."

She read the Dr. Seuss-based "Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!" as part of Read Across America Day, the nationwide literacy initiative centered around the iconic author's March 2 birthday.

"It's just a day to celebrate reading, to celebrate Dr. Seuss," third-grade teacher Patti Clark explained.

Her students participated in Kaiser's read-a-thon. Each class claimed an hour of the day and spent it reading together.

"If I'm reading with them, they find it fun," Clark said.

Teachers and volunteer storytellers sported Dr. Seuss gear, and students got to come in wearing pajamas and their favorite hats.

Across the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, other schools joined in.

At Anderson Elementary School in Newport Beach, students left their classes for a half-hour schoolwide outdoor reading session.

At College Park Elementary School in Costa Mesa, staff received a book donation, and a librarian dressed as Dr. Seuss visited classes.

And at Whittier Elementary School the cafeteria served green eggs and ham before older students launched into a poetry contest and younger ones competed in coloring.

At Kaiser, Granger finished reading and students surprised her with a Cat in the Hat shirt to match her headgear.

The school's Parent Faculty Organization had donated the striped, red-and-white stovepipes for all the teachers to wear, along with "Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!" for them to read at flag deck and throughout the read-a-thon.

"It's perfect because it's all about a teacher and a principal," Clark said about the story.

Then she turned to her students.

"Boys and girls, would you like to go to that school?" Clark asked.

There was a resounding yes, but Lilly Urresti, in an oversized, multi-colored top hat piped up, "No. I want to go to this school."

jeremiah.dobruck2@latimes.com

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck