Do you remember the first time you read a Dr. Seuss book? More than likely it was read to you, perhaps before you could even form words yourself. You grew up with Dr. Seuss, your children grew up with Dr. Seuss. It’s a cycle that will continue because his stories are iconic, colorful, and inspirational. We can all instantly picture the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, Horton, the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who, Sam-I-Am, and so many more of Dr. Seuss’ creations. His words are just as meaningful, with quotes adorning nurseries, coffee mugs, magnets, t-shirts, baby onesies, yearbooks, and anywhere else a dose of inspiration is needed. What graduation would be complete without at least one reference to Oh, The Places You’ll Go, especially this portion: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” Despite Dr. Seuss’ passing nearly three decades ago, his work remains fresh thanks in part to a carousel of new adaptations; it was just this last November that a new version of The Grinch premiered in theaters around the world.
March 2nd is a very special day for readers young and old, as we honor the work of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss (March 2,1904-September 24,1991). It’s fitting that his birthday is intertwined with Read Across America Day, a national movement that celebrates and draws attention to the power and joy of reading. Educators and librarians can find resources through the National Education Association and Suessville, a Penguin Random House website dedicated to all things Dr. Seuss.
Motivating children to read is not always an easy task. Our librarians are happy to recommend books that would appeal to your particular reader. Don’t forget that books are not “one size fits all.” You might want your child to read Anne of Green Gables or A Wrinkle in Time and they would rather read Captain Underpants and The Dork Diaries. The important thing to remember is that they’re reading–that is a success all on its own!
Need some more tips on reading motivation? Consider these:
- Set an example. Children want to be like the grownups around them, so if they see you reading, they will be more likely to read themselves.
- Read together, out loud, regardless of age. Make reading time quality time, by enjoying a story together as a family.
- When you’re reading out loud, try your best to read slowly and with conviction. In other words, when a character is sad, read the dialogue like you’re sad. Try your best to do the sound effects and remember that there is no such thing as “too silly” when reading to children. Don’t worry about accents or voices. Just try your best–children won’t judge you because you’re not a voice actor.
- Talk to your children while reading. Ask them questions about the story and see if they can predict what will happen next. Ask them what they would do if they were in that situation. Not only will you help them beef up their critical thinking skills, but you will also make the reading experience more immersive.
- If younger, preschool age children have a difficult time sitting through stories, find a picture book that encourages interactivity, such as Press Here, Tap the Magic Tree, or Can You Make a Scary Face?
Stop by the Levittown Public Library for all things Dr. Seuss, including his classic picture books and easy readers, films inspired by his work, and biographies about his life.
And in the spirit of Dr. Seuss, here’s a little poem to keep in mind for Read Across America Day.
Reading is reading, no matter the form!
Even magazines are a gateway, they open the door
To chapters and novels and big tomes, galore!
So don’t despair if it’s the Captain of Underpants
Whose humor catches your child’s discerning eye
Because reading is reading is reading is reading!