Read Across America Day: Take time to read to a child
Friday, March 2, is “Read Across America Day,” a special day when adults are encouraged to read to a child. March 2 was chosen by the National Education Association for this special event in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
Theodor (“Ted”) Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was a writer and illustrator who created many books for children that continue to be popular. Perhaps his most popular book, “The Cat in the Hat,” celebrates its 50th birthday this year.
In 1954, many Americans were concerned with illiteracy in our schools. Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Hersey wrote an article in Life Magazine entitled “Why Johnny Can’t Read.” In this article he claimed that the reason children couldn’t read was that their beginning readers were boring. He challenged Dr. Seuss to write a story “first graders wouldn’t be able to put down.”
Dr. Seuss accepted the challenge and wrote “The Cat in the Hat” using a vocabulary of only 236 words. Random House published it in 1957, and ever since then Dr. Seuss has been encouraging children everywhere to learn to read.
The Hastings Public Library will be celebrating “Read Across America Day” on Friday, March 2, with some special activities. At 10:00 a.m. there will be a Dr. Seuss Story Hour for preschoolers. All day long there will be birthday cake, birthday cards for kids to send to the Cat in the Hat, and special activity sheets for them to pick up.
Children may enjoy visiting the official Seuss web site at www.seussville.com. Here they can click on “Playground” and play several games featuring Dr. Seuss characters. They may also email a birthday card to the Cat in the Hat from this site. For every card received from now until May 1, 2007, Random House Children’s Books will donate one book to First Book. First Book is a non-profit organization whose mission is to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books.
Celebrate “Read Across America Day” and read to a child on Friday, March 2. But don’t let it stop there—read to a child every day!