Honoring Dr. Seuss

By Jackie Runion

The Marietta Times

jrunion@mariettatimes.com

Inclement weather has put a damper on much of the area schools’ Read Across America celebrations, but some teachers are still trying to keep events going with on-and-off snow days.

The National Education Association’s event, also known as Dr. Seuss Day to celebrate the birthday of the popular rhyme-heavy children’s author, has schools, libraries and communities across the country holding events surrounding the day.

From book-readings to crafts, schools still tried to keep the spirit of author Theodor Seuss Geisel alive for students to learn and enjoy.

On Feb. 28, President Obama officially marked March 3 as the official Read Across America Day with Seuss’ 110th birthday on March 2.

Activities continued Tuesday at Washington Elementary School in Marietta.

“At the beginning of the year we did activities where we compared and contrasted the book ‘The Lorax’ to its movie version to tell the differences,” said Washington Elementary fifth grade teacher Bethany Colvin.

On Tuesday, Colvin had students making cut-outs of the bright orange and furry Lorax, a Dr. Seuss staple, while they listened to the audio book.

“We’re doing a writing prompt that asks, ‘What would you do if you were the Lorax for a day’ where the students explain what they would do and how they would help the world,” Colvin said. “This is all about learning about the impact Dr. Seuss had on literature and the lessons from the books.”

Classrooms have lined the shelves with Dr. Seuss books for students to enjoy, from “Hop on Pop” to “The Foot Book.”

“And we’re never too old to read Dr. Seuss,” Colvin said to remind students.

Josie Nicholas, 11, said she has not read Dr. Seuss much since she was little, but loves “The Lorax.”

“It’s a good story and he is a helpful character,” she said.

Patrick Wells, 11, really likes “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,” but agreed that “The Lorax” had good messages for children.

“He tells you to make sure to be careful about the things you do before you do it,” he said.

Colvin taught the class about the environmental issues “The Lorax” addresses, like to treat trees and the world around you with respect.

With more than 200 million of Dr. Seuss’ 44 books sold around the world and printed in 15 different languages, his legacy leaves several generations that have enjoyed his stories, with all-time best-sellers like “Green Eggs and Ham” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“It’s the rhyming, kids really like that, and they’re just good stories that are fairly easy to read and easy for everyone to enjoy,” said Melissa Reed, a librarian in the children’s department of the Washington County Public Library.

The library frequently does story hours, crafts and events to help celebrate the author’s birthday.

“They’re all totally different, out there and weird, and that’s why I think people are drawn to them,” Reed said. “And so imaginative.”

She said it’s events like Read Across America that can be celebrated across the country that are great for the learning process.

“It connects us all while making a connection between learning and having fun, all to celebrate a person’s life that had such a big impact on reading,” she said.

In his official proclamation, Obama noted the significance of Seuss literature, that his books, “call us to open our minds, to take responsibility for ourselves and our planet. And they remind us that the value of our possessions pales in comparison to that of the ties we share with family, friends, and community.”