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Dr. Seuss’ Birthday, Read Across America Day

Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday was celebrated across America on Friday, March 2 on Read Across America Day. The day is set aside to celebrate the life and work of┬áTheodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss, and the importance of reading in daily life. Students from coast to coast celebrated in many different ways, from reading a Dr. Seuss story in class to going to the movies to watch “The Lorax.” Literacy rates are high in developed countries, where schooling is required and so much of the workforce is dependent upon workers being literate. Nevertheless, literacy statistics show that an estimated 20% of the adult population worldwide is illiterate.

Read Across America Day is a day to celebrate reading and help children not just learn to read but to develop a love for reading. Helping them to see the adventure and fun in a story, making it fun and entertaining, like Dr. Seuss was able to do, gives them a desire to practice. Reading stories that are imaginative and interesting will help prepare your child for reading and keep the child wanting to read more. The more they practice and read the better they get and the more they enjoy it. Reading on a daily basis exposes the children to ideas, vocabulary, and knowledge that they may not have encountered otherwise. How many times has your child been reading a story and they ask you “what does that mean?” when they come to a term or phrase they are unfamiliar with? While it may not be a phrase you would have used or they would have encountered another way, reading is in an incredible tool for teaching and learning.

Reading is critical to the success of every student. Early years in the education system builds the foundation for reading and learning. If a child learns to love reading and become proficient at it, the later years of schooling and education will be easier and much more productive. No matter the subject or topic that the student is studying, reading is a major part of learning. From reading, and understanding, the directions on a test to simply reading required materials for a subject matter, reading is an essential part of learning.

Let’s take a look at some ideas and ways that schools are celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday (Dr. Seuss week) on Read Across America Day – in many cases the celebration lasts all week. Some activities my own children have been involved in during Dr. Seuss week include a crazy sock day, Dr. Seuss hat day (or wear any hat), crazy hair day, wacky tie day, and many others. Often the school will take a day to serve Green Eggs and Ham to celebrate Dr. Seuss. Other ideas include reading a Dr. Seuss book that goes along with a subject or topic you are studying. “There’s No Place Like Space”, “Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?” or one of many other titles that will teach the child and let him/her see the fun and adventure in reading. Other online resources include coloring pages, worksheets, and many other mini lessons that can be used throughout the week.

The more creative and imaginative you can get during Dr. Suess Week, or on Read Across America Day, the more interested students will be in reading. Even older students that may be past the reading level of most Dr. Suess books can be given the opportunity or challenge to read a Dr. Seuss book to a younger child and see the delight and joy that the creative, imaginative books instill in young readers.A simple search on the internet provides dozens of printable activities and ideas for making your Dr. Seuss birthday celebration a fun and exciting one in your classroom or homeschool. Helping our youth develop a love for reading will help increase literacy rates everywhere as children hard their knowledge and love with others.