Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss—Read Across AmericaMar 4th, 2011 | By Brianna Boyd | Category: Lifestyle
Children in Dixon, California, and countless others throughout the country picked up books Wednesday in celebration of the man who gave the world classic tales like Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who, and Oh! The Places You’ll Go.
If he were alive today, Theodor Seuss Geisel – known near and far as Dr. Seuss – would have been 107 years old Wednesday. To honor the man who penned over 50 children’s books under the names of Dr. Seuss and Theo LeSieg before his death in September of 1991, schools across the country participated in the National Education Association’s 14th annual Read Across America.
Dr. Seuss’s birthday celebration began bright and early in Dixon. Tremont Elementary’s muti-purpose room was full of blankets, sleeping bags and families enjoying the school’s annual Breakfast With Books event prior to the start of school. There were well over 150 children and parents who enjoyed breakfast from the school’s Teacher Parent Association while reading books on the floor.
Curled together on one of the blankets on the floor, Holly Purcell read There’s a Wocket in My Pocket to daughters Tori, 7, Paige, 3 and their friends Marisa Ruiz, 10, and Lindsey Milde, 8.
“I love all of them, but probably The Cat in the Hat is my ultimate favorite,” Purcell said as she took a break between pages.
The girls also had their own favorite Seuss book. Tori said she loved The Foot Book best, Lindsey and Marisa are both fans of Green Eggs and Hamand little Paige said her favorite was the one her mom was reading to them.
“He makes up his own words and they’re funny,” Marisa said. “He’s very creative with his illustrations too. It’s crazy how he comes up with these things.”
Next to them, Lindsey’s brother Chris Milde, 11, was reading Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. He took a break in between pages to share his favorite Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat.
On a nearby sleeping bag, Norma Munoz read Sneetches to her children Diego, 5, and Erica, 8 and their friend Jasmine Piper, 7. Erica was the one who selected Sneetches to bring to school that day.
“We have a collection at home,” said Munoz, who also read I Wish I had Duck Feet to the children. “Personally, I like the fact that the books rhyme because it helps with their academics.”
Munoz said she reads to her children every night before they go to bed. While Diego and Erica bring her a wide variety of books, Dr. Seuss is a favorite.
“I don’t have a favorite,” Erica said. “I like them all.”
Not everyone in Tremont’s multi-purpose room read Dr. Seuss for Breakfast With Books. Joe Albertazzi and his daughter Jiana, 5, were reading Bath time for Biscuit, an I-Can-Read-Book by Alyssa Capucilli.
“We read every night before bed,” he said. “She won’t go to sleep until one of us reads to her.
“It would be nice to have more time during the day,” he added as he surveyed the people in the multi-purpose room. “I think this is fantastic.”
Many teachers planned Dr. Seuss themed activities with their students Wednesday to celebrate the author.
Peggy Harte, a third grade teacher at Tremont, devotes the day to Dr. Seuss every year.
For the first part of the week, her students have been working on a school-wide survey to discover the overall favorite Seuss book.
“They’ve been taking their clipboards to recess and they’re surveying all the other students and asking them what their favorite Dr. Seuss book is,” she explained.
The class has 52 books listed so far, and as of Wednesday morning, The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham were tied in first place.
They started off the day Wednesday by welcoming Tremont principal Matt Banuelos to their classroom. Wearing a Dr. Seuss tie, Banuelos read Bartholomew and the Oobleck to the students.
He shared with the children that he was not familiar with the book until Harte introduced it to him several years ago. It’s not one of Seuss’s most popular stories, he added, but it is now one of his favorites.
“A lot of people are very familiar with One Fish, Two Fish and The Cat in the Hat,” he said. “But there are also a lot of other Dr. Seuss books that tell great stories.”
Later that morning, the students were able to make their own oobleck using corn starch and water. They went through the complete scientific process – which they have been learning about in class – to determine if oobleck is a solid, liquid or gas.
“This is a really good reason to stop and do something hands on,” Harte said. “They all like Dr. Seuss and this is a fun experiment. It’s different too, and variety is the spice of life.”
Across town at Gretchen Higgins Elementary School, Jesus Contreras, the district’s director of student services, read The Cat in the Hat in English and Spanish to Gloria Yanez’s kindergarten class.
The excited children all wore red and white striped hats – similar to the one worn by that mischievous cat – and even Contreras had one on as well. He started off his story by telling the children that books are special friends that can take a person to magic places.
“This is really a fun time to come out and celebrate what we are all about, which is literacy for all,” said Contreras, who is a guest speaker in a classroom every year for Read Across America. “It’s especially fun to see our young citizens engaged in learning and reading.”
As part of Dr. Suess’s birthday celebration, “Cat in the Hat” artwork decorated a wall in Yanez’s classroom. The children made the artwork, as well as their hats, the day before.
“The words he uses in his stories empower children, especially beginning readers, to feel successful in their reading,” she said. “They’re also entertaining and delightful and catch children’s attention.”
The books are certainly a lot different than the stories she grew up on, she added. She learned to read with the Dick and Jane series, and she wishes Dr. Seuss books existed then because she would have certainly read them.
“Dr. Seuss left his books and stories for children to enjoy throughout the generations,” she said. “These children will someday be able to share these stories with their own children and grandchildren. His legacy will live on and because of him, I believe, we will have a successful and literate generation.”