By Linda White
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, a native of Springfield, MA would have been 112 years old on March 2. Most of us can name at least one personal favorite among the more than 40 children’s books he wrote and illustrated during his career. In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Davis School students, teachers, staff, parents and community representatives made time to read a least a few of them.
A full schedule of Dr. Seuss activities began with all K-2 students making their way, classroom by classroom, to the gymnasium sporting Cat in the Hat headgear for a school-wide assembly that also included CASE and SAIL classrooms. Jennifer Wayne-Bartlett, Davis School Reading Specialist commented, “The purpose of this assembly is to serve as a kick off to a special day. It is also a developmentally appropriate way to help kids understand that this is a big day to totally celebrate reading.”
During the assembly, Reading Specialists Jennifer Wayne-Bartlett and Christina Avis performed an original skit. Other performances included a Dr. Seuss biography written and presented by a second grade student, and a rap to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish was performed by music teacher Alison Hannah’s Before School Music Group complete with egg shakers to keep the beat.
The assembly concluded with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday for Dr. Seuss. Students returned to their classrooms for more activities such as voting for their favorite Dr. Seuss book and welcoming guest readers from the Bedford community. Police Chief Robert Bongiorno was a popular classroom guest, reading a Dr. Seuss favorite, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.
Reading Specialist Christina Avis, summarized, “It was important that every student be able to participate in the activities of the day and feel connected to our literacy goals. It was also good for students to see their teachers having fun and dressing a little silly. A great time was had by all!”
It is not a coincidence that Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’s birthday are both celebrated on March 2. The National Education Association (NEA) selected March 2 as a day to encourage thousands of schools, libraries and community centers to participate in a national effort to bring kids, teens and books together. A small group of NEA members met in 1997 and began planning for a national day to celebrate and encourage reading. Read Across America was timed to also celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday. It became an official event on March 2, 1998 and has had strong support and appreciation since.
NEA’s Read Across America also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers, and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year. (https://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm)
Activities and ways to celebrate Read Across American and Dr. Seuss can be found at https://www.nea.org/assets/docs/HOTR16_RAAEduKit_Brochure_WEB.pdf