Written by: Tandra Filbin
Hi everybody, Miss Tandra here! I hope you are all healthy and happy!
On Wednesday, March 2nd, we are celebrating National Read Across America and Dr. Seuss’s 117th Birthday!
Of course, a birthday is just one day, but we can celebrate Read Across America for the whole month of March and all year. We can do this by reading for fun, reading for diversity, and sharing books with others! You might be wondering what exactly is “Read Across America”? The National Education Association (NEA) launched “Read Across America” in 1998; it is the nation’s biggest celebration of reading. This is recognized in March, but it is a year-round program. The titles and resources featured by NEA’s Read Across America include books that students can see themselves reflected in, as well as books that allow readers to see a world or a character that might be different than them. Readers who feel included, recognized, and a part of the world are engaged readers. It’s main focus is to motivate children and young adults to read for themselves, to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources that are about anyone; anything, and for everyone! Diversity reading is one of the NEA’s spotlight messages.
How is Read Across America tied to Dr. Seuss?
I am sure you have heard by now that Read Across America is celebrated by many Americans alongside Dr. Seuss's birthday every year. If you did not know, that is correct and here is why. Since its conception in 1998, Read Across America has been held on or near March 2nd, which was Dr. Seuss's birthday. “One of the reasons we partnered with Seuss 20 years ago in 1997 was to kick-start this program,” NEA spokesman Steven Grant told the School Library Journal in 2017. “That was the strategy up front, so kids would see Dr. Seuss’s 'Cat in the Hat' and spark some attention.” So Dr. Seuss became the face of the program from then on. Here is some information and facts about the man who invented The Cat in the Hat. Did you know the famous hat was almost a queen's crown instead? And the cat we all know and love so much was almost a zebra instead? This was because when tasked to write The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss was only allowed to write with an OFFICIAL LIST of words only! This task was not easy for a man who liked to make up words like “yerka” and “wocket”. “Zebra” and “queen” were not on that list, but “cat” and “hat” were! And an unforgettable character was born! Right there was the start of many Dr. Seuss beginning reader books! And with the challenge of using only 50 of the words on that official list thrown at him, the very educational beginning reader book Green Eggs and Ham was created! The “Dr.” in “Dr. Seuss” was in tribute to his father Theodore Geisel (also known as Dr. Seuss) in the hope that his son would get his PhD. He instead dropped out of the PhD program at Oxford where he was pursuing a PhD in English. “Seuss” was his mother's maiden name as well as his own middle name. Theodor Seuss Geisel says he adopted the pen name "Dr. Seuss" because he was saving his real name for the Great American Novel he intended to write one day. Though, he was known to his friends as “Ted”. Only four of the 44 books Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated are written in prose which is the way we usually write, read, and speak as opposed to his more poetry style way of writing. Dr. Seuss has received two Emmys, a Peabody Award and a Pulitzer Prize. He passed away on September 24, 1991.
Written by: Judy Sierra
Illustrated by: Kevin Hawkes
How can we celebrate Read Across America?
By reading of course! All of the books here are filled with many different kinds of people, places, and imagination. Getting to know the books is self-exploration, it's interesting, and it's exciting! When everything in a young one’s life is planned or somewhat decided on what they will read about or learn about, it takes away from their examination of themselves. As a parent/teacher we are happy they are reading and learning for a school topic or project, but forget later to have fun with reading. Celebrating Read Across America is about exploring the reading world on your own to find out about the magic around you and to find out about yourself. When people make the time to read with children, children get the message that reading is important. Parents, family members, and friends who make time to read help motivate kids to read and celebrate the diversity in our community and our country. Come to the library and check out the world!
For more information and/or book ideas check out these links!
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