Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and in all the nooks. ~Dr. Seuss
March is reading month and we celebrate it partly in homage to the late, great Dr. Seuss who wrote 46 children’s books in his lifetime. His greatest known books, The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham were books he was challenged to write because of the troubling statistics that were coming forward about children and literacy in the 50s. It had been established that the primers being used to teach children were boring to the children that had to read them. Dr. Seuss was asked by his friend, the director of Houghton Mifflin, to write a book using 250 beginner words that first grade students could easily recognize. The Cat in the Hat was born and came in under the word count with 236 words being used. Dr. Seuss’ most popular book, Green Eggs and Ham, was developed under similar circumstances. Dr. Seuss was challenged by a publisher to write a book using fifty words or less and this beloved classic was born. Dr. Seuss did not begin writing children’s books with the intent of teaching children how to read, but he has been heralded as the best reading teacher in America.
What does this mean for you? It means that you may not have started out your journey thinking that becoming a reading teacher was your destiny. However, we all have the potential to help children learn to read. From reading to your own children and grandchildren, to volunteering as an Energizing Education mentor at one of our six schools, you could be a catalyst for helping a child become a reader. There is no greater gift you can give to a child than the ability to read. There are other ways to give your time to give the gift of reading to students this month. Schools across the county are looking for people willing to come in and read a story to their elementary classes. There are also book fairs taking place in most of the elementary schools this month. Why not call and see if they need volunteers? How wonderful would it be to pair students up with the right books so they enjoy reading and do not look at it as a chore or assignment? As one of the site coordinators for Energizing Education, I can say that providing interesting books and a caring mentor to students twice a week to read with them makes a world of difference.
***All of the information about Dr. Seuss can be found on his website www.seussville.com***
– Amy Cook