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Feb 142014
Image of Students Learning About Dr. Suess - hosted on wikipedia.org under Creative Commons 2.0 license

Image of Students Learning About Dr. Suess – hosted on wikipedia.org under Creative Commons 2.0 license

Just around the corner, students across America will have VIP visitors in their classrooms.  The unconfirmed but highly speculated visitors will include: The Who’s from Whoville, Sam I Am, Mr. Knox and Mr. Brown, Aunt Annie, Horton, and of course The Cat in the Hat.  These are just some of the headliners.  On March 3, schools across the country will launch a month long celebration of reading with Read Across America Day.  We can thank Dr. Seuss for giving us such colorful characters that will grace their presence in the classrooms.  As a thank you, educators throughout the nation will be celebrating Dr. Seuss’ (Theodor Seuss Geisel) birthday.

March 3rd is the official kick off for a month long encouragement of reading.  You do not have to necessarily be an educator to take part in the fun!  Parents are encouraged to make fun meals, create cozy spots for reading, and model the fun that reading can bring to readers of all ages.

The 2014 theme for “Read Across America Day” is oral hygiene.  Some schools will be promoting books and enjoying read alouds that discuss this topic.  The American Dental Association (ADA) will also be promoting reading and Dr. Seuss by offering special gifts at selected dental offices and specially packaged toothpaste and toothbrushes from various companies.

Pinterest has literally thousands of ideas to help launch and keep the enthusiasm alive throughout the month of March.  You can see various pins and ideas from reading groups, crafts, classroom decorations, challenges, and menu ideas, just to name a few.  You can successfully search under “Read Across America” or “Dr. Seuss”.

Many public libraries will be supporting the idea of reading with incentives when particular reading goals are reached.  Some schools have set have classroom goals, school goals, as well as district wide goals.  Once the goals are met, different prizes or activities are awarded.  One school principal that I know of was dunked in a dunk tank, while another kissed a pig!  One superintendent became a live target for a water balloon booth at the district’s carnival.

The key to all the festivities is to encourage and support the fun and love of reading.  This does not have to be an elementary project only.  Simply tweak ideas, or think outside of the box for the older students.  This is a great time to launch an incentive program that will last throughout Spring Break that is also quickly approaching.  Stumped on what to encourage children to read?  Here is a link that might just help: http://www.ala.org/alsc/booklists .  This list is compiled by the American Library Association and spans all ages of readers from the pre-reader to the young adult.

Enjoy spending time with your reader, no matter what the age.  Be creative and remember that things done in Seuss fashion do not always follow traditional rules!  Eating green eggs and ham “in a box with a fox” might be just the thing to inspire your reluctant child to read!