It is here! It is here! Let’s give a cheer! It is finally here!
With apologies to Dr. Seuss (and to those who aren’t fans of exclamation points), I had to go there. It’s time for one of our most beloved events of the year: NEA’s Read Across America, our celebration of reading and the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.
Our featured Dr. Seuss book this year is What Pet Should I Get? But you can focus on whatever book(s) you’d like, as long as our students get excited about reading.
From February 26 through March 4, NEA leaders will travel to schools in six cities, providing resources to schools in need and honoring Dr. Seuss. This is the 19th year of what I think of as our “literacy party.”
What Pet is based on a manuscript discovered among Geisel’s belongings in 2013, more than 20 years after his death. The manuscript was painstakingly reconstructed by his longtime designer and art director, and the original illustrations and text are believed to date to at least 1962.
The story is about two kids searching for the perfect pet on a deadline. As with all Dr. Seuss books, the rhymes and simple language help get across complex notions in a fun way. In this case, it’s the challenge of making a decision when there are lots of options and not much time:
It is something
to make a mind up.
Dr. Seuss offers a treasure trove of books for students of all ages – from beginners who love his playful rhymes and fantastical drawings, to older readers who gain insights on such subjects as environmental stewardship. But as we know, there are lots of good reads out there that will inspire and enrich our students. NEA’s website can help you find them.
To help spread the joy of reading, NEA’s Read Across America and the NEA Foundation are making 100 $1,000 awards to public schools serving economically disadvantaged students. The grants were made possible by a contribution from The Weinstein Company and Walden Media. You can apply for a grant until April 29 to purchase a variety of diverse books and reading materials for your school’s library. Recipients will be announced by June 15 on the foundation’s website.
But on March 2, we’re taking some time to celebrate the wonderful world created by Geisel. The NEA Read Across America website offers plenty of planning tips, downloadable materials, and other resources.
Some educators will be wearing Cat in the Hat suits to mark the occasion. But if costumes aren’t your thing, not to worry. There are many ways to celebrate Read Across America Day on March 2, and countless ways to share the fun and joy of reading every single day. Please share your celebration on social media by tagging photos and updates with the hashtag #readacrossamerica. Happy reading!