January 13, 2011
Read Across America: Every Day!
The Read Across America initiative was created by the National Education Association to celebrate Dr. Seuss (whose birthday was on March 2), and also something that author celebrated in every one of his books for young people: the joy of reading. Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel was no fan of the beginning reader books of his day, which featured thrilling text along the lines of, "See Mark. See Janet. See Mark sit. See Janet sit. Sit, Mark. Sit Janet. See Mark and Janet sit." These are the memories of my bored inner five-year-old; my school had apparently not yet adopted Seuss (though my parents had), and in class I had to read about the "adventures" of Janet, Mark, and their equally-thrilling dog Tip ("See Tip. Here, Tip. Come, Tip. Tip-Tip."). Ugh.
Thank goodness for Dr. Seuss, who came along and gave beginning reader books what they needed: FUN. The Foot Book, for instance, combines its simple vocabulary with rhyme, silliness, bright & inventive illustrations--AND also manages to cover the subject of opposites! Hooray for Dr. Seuss, on his birthday and every day.
So, how to celebrate Read Across America Day? Schools & libraries do it by hosting special events with guest readers or storytellers, or just by doing a little extra reading on that day. Seuss-related crafts are very popular, as are campus parades and dramatizations from the works of Dr. Seuss. Does the whole day have to focus on Seuss works, though? NO! It's about celebrating the joy of reading! Is Read Across America just for schools & libraries? No, please don't leave it there; any person or organization can have an event, no matter big or small. Parents? You can read, too! It would be a nice birthday present for Dr. Seuss, and an even bigger gift for your children--today, March 2, and every day.
Read Across America