Although nothing may come to mind to most people, March 2nd marks a very important occasion. It is the birthday of the only Doctor children would like to see! If you ever ask anyone who is Dr. Seuss, chances are they will know one thing, or maybe even two, about him. Despite passing away over 30 years ago, the man is still a household name, having introduced eager children to the imaginative world of reading. So what does “Read Across America Day” have to do with the rhyming legend? When did it come to be? And how do educational entities such as Rutherford School District come to celebrate it?
The Creation of Read Across America Day
Theodor Seuss Geisel is the well-known author of many beloved children’s books, including The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Lorax. In his earlier years, Seuss struggled to get a company to publish his very first book. It wasn’t until 1937 that finally And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street was published.
Unfortunately not an overnight success, like most great authors, Dr. Seuss continued to write books. It was clear that he had a true passion and wasn’t afraid to show his more creative side. As the years went on, his popularity grew. By the 1990s Oh, the Places You’ll Go would be the final book published in Seuss’s lifetime. About seven years after his death in 1991, the NEA (The National Education Association) started Read Across America Day, having the very first one on March 2nd, 1998. Over 20 years later, the celebration is still going strong. The legacy of these classic books speaks for itself since they appeal across generations.
What Happens on Read Across America Day?
The goal of Read Across America Day is to fortify reading and to make it a lifetime pursuit. Many schools across the country have participated in the event. For example, having older kids visit the classrooms of younger ones to share their love of reading. The day is all about reading, so naturally, the older kids read Dr. Seuss’s classic books to them as a special treat.
RHS is no exception to this, as the Future Teachers of America and Public Speaking members spent the day reading to children at younger schools around the district of Rutherford. These readers were all decked out in the iconic Dr. Seuss red. The message that they share is that reading is not just about academics, but can be entertaining and informative. This initiative is an annual tradition made possible by the REF, or Rutherford Education Foundation, which provides a grant each year for all the necessary materials for the event.
Seeing the happy faces of children just goes to show the magic of reading and the power of literature even in its simplest form. What is wonderful about Read Across America Day is that it’s not just a celebration of Dr. Seuss, it’s a day to cherish those books that you can’t put down. Old books, new books, big books, and small books are appreciated. Like most things, we overlook books, especially in the digital era.
In the words of Dr. Seuss “Be awesome! Be a book nut!”