March 2nd is the birthday of Theodor Geisel (better know as Dr. Seuss) and it is also National Read Across America Day created by the National Education Association. As far as holidays go, it’s mighty high up on the totem pole of excitement for me. The NEA sponsors school and community events across the nation to inspire children to read and there is nothing like a healthy dose of Dr. Seuss to get kids (and adults) excited about reading.
There are over 60 Dr. Seuss children’s books to choose from and if you take a quick poll of people’s favorites wherever you are (go ahead, I’ll wait) you’ll often hear folks cite “Cat in the Hat”, “Green Eggs and Ham” and “Horton Hears a Who” among the top titles. Seriously, when you think about the top storytellers of childhood Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss are the King and Queen (and it’s an extra added bonus that they happen to rhyme).
If you have the opportunity and the time (as little as half an hour), I highly suggest you volunteer to read in your community on Read Across America Day. There is nothing like opening the pages of a book and the mind of a child to the wonders of Dr. Seuss. It’s a slam dunk that the little kids are drawn to a story like “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” but you can almost feel the electricity in the room when you speak to the upper grades (jaded preteens) and introduce something like “Oh the Places You’ll Go”, the last book Theodor Geisel wrote before he died, about the challenges of life. When you squeeze information on down to the size of a BB… it’s easily digested, but no less powerful. Oh, the conversations it will spark.
If you haven’t read any Dr. Seuss yourself in a while, stop into your local library or bookstore (oh, please visit bookstores – especially the Mom ‘n’ Pop variety) and pick up a copy of “You’re Only Old Once – A Book for Obsolete Children” or “The Lorax” (slated to become a major motion picture soon) and learn things you never knew you never knew.
For more information on Read Across America Day visit www.nea.org/readacross/ and throw your red and white striped hat into the ring to be one of the heroes to teach children the amazing super powers of words. Discover how much fun the Zing! Boom! Pow! of Dr. Seuss can be and watch how it brings kids one step closer to developing those mad skills.
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” – Dr. Seuss