NEW YORK— Schools around the nation started this week by celebrating Read Across America week in honor of Dr. Seuss’s 116th birthday. His first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was published in 1937—decades later, his work is still among the most popular books for young readers.
Two students at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy told NTD how much they love the rhymes and humor in Dr. Seuss’ books. Joseph Sanchez’s favorite book is Cat in the Hat “because it rhymes, and every single time I read it, it’s funny,” Sanchez said. That’s mission accomplished for Dr. Seuss because his motivation for writing that book, in particular, was to make reading interesting for kids. He was spurred to action after Life magazine writer, John Hersey wrote a 1954 article about children’s poor reading levels.
In young classrooms, the day is usually celebrated by reading Dr. Seuss’s books together and learning about his legacy. Some schools host Community Reading Days, where people from various professions are invited to read and interact with the kids. At St. Michael’s Academy in New York, they had police, firefighters, and even their school’s alumni to inspire the kids through reading.
For older kids, the celebration can offer some time for reflection about the importance of literacy.
“One may not think about it, but reading is always there. It’s always going to follow you around no matter where you go. Reading newspapers, reading just a paper you might have from work, reading some interview papers you might have gotten if you are like a manager,” said Fabio Colindres, a student, St. Michael’s Catholic Academy.
This year marks the 22nd annual reading celebration since the National Education Association pushed for the national celebration in 1998 to motivate young readers and encourage reading habits.