May the Seuss be with you: Schools celebrate the joy of reading
“You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes,
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.”
– Oh the Places You’ll Go!
Dr. Seuss (1904-1991)
Throughout the next couple of weeks, children in our community will be preparing delicious entrees of green eggs and ham, marching in Cat in the Hat parades, carrying wockets in their pockets and participating in an all-night pajama read-a-thon. All in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ 97th birthday, March 2, the joy of reading and a push for literacy.
Students in Kay Kennedy and Sherry Hollomon’s second and first grade classes at Truckee Elementary have been preparing for a Dr. Seuss read-a-thon sleepover all week by making Dr. Seuss posters and planning events. During the event, local celebrities and community leaders will show up in their pajamas to read their favorite children’s books to the students. A variety of activities will include puppet theater, a word walk and mural making.
“It’s a major read-a-thon,” Kennedy said. “Everyone will be in their pajamas to celebrate literacy. I think it’s such a big thing to encourage kids and show them that reading is fun.”
The two teachers have organized the read-a-thon five times now and are thrilled with how the community rallies behind reading to children.
“A lot of parents grew up reading Dr. Seuss books themselves,” Kennedy said. “It’s something we can all identify with.”
“The whole idea is that the community participates in a 24-hour event,” Hollomon said. “We’ve invited the mayor, the new police chief and as many other people who are active in the community that we can get. It enforces to the children that everyone’s a reader. It also reinforces what had to be taught in a really fun way.”
Projects like this are happening across the country on March 2, and adults are encouraged to help celebrate reading during the National Education Association’s Read Across America week. The annual literacy event coincides with the birthday of the late children’s author Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel), whose beloved books and zany characters provide the backdrop for what NEA President Bob Chase calls: “a day of fun with a purpose.”
“We hope that students of all ages will explore with us the fun, adventure, and magic that reading – and books – provide. We want readers young and old to join us for the ride,” Chase said.
Dr. Seuss books have been acclaimed for their enchanting creativity and rhythm as well as their use of words that are important for children to learn.
“The sense of rhythm is so important in early language development,” said Truckee Library’s Children Librarian Teri Rinne. “Dr. Seuss really had rhythm and rhyme down.”
His books were first published in the 1950s and were immediately popular. Almost 50 years later, the popularity of his books is stronger than ever.
“That’s amazing longevity for a children’s author, so he must have been doing something right,” Rinne said.”We have almost all of his books available for checkout here at the library and they are all very well worn, showing his popularity among kids and parents.”
Second-grader Kelsey Falkenberg’s favorite Dr. Seuss book is “Green Eggs and Ham,” that same book that will be read the most to children across the country for Read Across America week.
“I like to read Dr. Seuss books because they’re so funny and stuff,” Falkenberg said. “I have a whole collection of Dr. Seuss books in my bookcase.”
Her classmate Hilary Breuner said her favorite Dr. Seuss book was “There’s a Wasket in my Basket.”
“It’s just like they make it up and it’s not a true story,” Breuner said of Dr. Seuss’ books. “They are imaginative and they have neat names.”
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