Special education teacher Leslie Walker alerted me to Voyager Elementary School’s “Dr. Seuss, Read Across America Day.” I wanted to attend but couldn’t. Doesn’t matter.
In an exchange of email messages, Walker and I worked out a scheme which would permit her kids to show their stuff in Kids’ Corner for the many deeds of the day. Walker even arranged to acquire photographic evidence to attribute to the authenticity of their deeds.
“Read Across America Day to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday is one of my absolute favorite days of the year,” Walker said. “It is a fun way to be silly and encourage reading at the same time. Kids really look forward to it.”
It is a yearly event in Walker’s classroom.
My wife and I were among the first to discover Dr. Seuss. He hit the book scene about the time our first son came aboard the planet in Tokyo, Japan, in 1956. We started his love of literature and, by extension, history, taking turns as we read him all sorts of literature; Dr. Seuss was his favorite for a long time.
“At Dr. Seuss’ birthday, we wore funny Dr. Seuss hats, read Dr. Seuss and ate cupcakes and goldfish,” second-grader Aidan Grouthesmann said. “We read ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’ ‘Hop on Pop’ and the ‘Cat in the Hat Comes Back.’
“My favorite book is ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ ’cause it’s funny. We also made a Thing 2 and Thing 1 project and pretended they came to our house. It was fun to write.”
Thing 1 and Thing 2 are fourth-grader Connor Bennet’s favorite characters “because they look ridiculous with their puffy hair.”
“Yertle the Turtle is my favorite book because he thinks he is king of everybody,” Bennet said.
Classmate Damien Peterson said Thing 1 and Thing 2 add to what the Cat is doing.
“We got to have a fun party and learned about Dr. Seuss,” Peterson said.
Third-grader Jennifer Rogg also “Cat in the Hat.”
“My favorite part is when he rides on his thingamajigger,” she said. “I like cats, and he is funny. The thing I like most was holding the baby Cat in the Hat. We played games and ate yummy candy and cupcakes.”
David Sobba, also a third-grader, liked “Fox in Socks” because of the tongue-twisters.
“My favorite character is Fox because he balances things on his head, back and feet,” Sobba said.
Walker, who first became involved with the National Education Association’s Read Across America program while she was a student at Western Washington University in Bellingham, said there’s no better way to encourage a love for reading than to celebrate Dr. Seuss.
“He is one of the most amazing children’s book authors,” she said. “The kids love the books, the silliness and the made-up words.
“We always have fun ... My classroom really enjoys it.”
I hate it when I miss a good party!
For more information, call Walker at 253-530-4868.
Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for The Peninsula Gateway. He can be reached at 253-884-3319 or by email at hmcmnp1000@ centurytel.net.