Read Across America Day

By: Jason Simpson
By: Jason Simpson

Read Across America Day is meant to show how much fun reading can be.

Students at Parkview Elementary School in Meridian joined others across the country Monday reading books and having books read to them by special guests.

Meridian Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Janet McLin, was one of the celebrity readers at Parkview. She says the ability to read is one of the most important skills to have.

"Reading is the basis of our society," said McLin. "We talk about electronics and a paperless society, but if you can't read you can't do anything on a computer."

But it wasn't about computers at Parkview. Instead, it was all about books, plain and simple.

The goal of a day like Read Across America is to introduce reading into the students' daily lives, aside from normal schoolwork, to make it really become fun.

"If they get interested in books and see that books are fun, and have information that they want, then the children will voluntarily read more,"
said McLin.

Making a program like this work takes a lot of people, effort, and time. Workers like Angela Cole are a part of Americorps, doing the footwork under the sponsorship of America Reads Mississippi in Jackson.

"We are trying to get as many adults into our children's classrooms in one day to show them the importance of it," said Cole.

Read Across America Day falls very near the birthday of Dr. Suess, one of America's most famous and beloved children's writers.

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Some Facts About the Good Doctor

  • Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) was born March 2, 1904, in Springfield, MA.

  • Geisel graduated in 1925 from Dartmouth, where he drew cartoons for the humor magazine Jack-O-Lantern.

  • He wrote and illustrated 47 books, selling more than 100 million copies in 18 languages.

  • Dr. Seuss was awarded a 1984 Pulitzer Prize for his contribution to children's literature.

  • Seuss' works were journeys into nonsense, magical worlds of truffula trees, ziffs and zuffs and nerkles and nerds, where top-hatted cats run rampant through youngsters' homes while parents are away.

  • Seuss' stories often included subtle messages on issues important to him, from internationalism to environmentalism.

  • In his 1984 best seller, The Butter Battle Book, Seuss offered a parable for the atomic age.

  • Theodor Seuss Geisel died on Sept. 26, 1991. He was 87.

''Ten years ago, Dr. Seuss took 220 words, rhymed them, and turned out The Cat In The Hat, a little volume of absurdity that worked like a karate chop on the weary little world of Dick, Jane, and Spot.'' (Ellen Goodman - November, 1966 - The Detroit Free Press)

Favorite Reads for Children

  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimhby Robert O’Brien
    In need of help for her children, a widowed mouse visits the rats whose former imprisonment in a laboratory has given them wisdom. 1972 Newbery Award.

  • The Diary of a Young Girlby Anne Frank
    The secret journal of a Dutch Jewish girl written during the time her family went into hiding from the Nazis during World War II.

  • The Book of Threeby Lloyd Alexander
    Taran, would-be hero and assistant pig-keeper, assembles a group of companions to rescue the oracular pig Hen Wen from the forces of evil. One book in five of the Prydain Chronicles.

  • The Witch of Blackbird Pondby Elizabeth George Speare A 16-year-old girl from Barbados moves to a Puritan colony in Connecticut and is accused of being a witch.

  • How to Eat Fried Wormsby Thomas Rockwell
    Two boys set out to prove that worms can make a delicious meal.

  • The House of Dries Drearby Virginia Hamilton
    Thirteen-year-old Thomas and his family move from North Carolina to a strange, old mansion in Ohio which was once a station on the Underground Railroad.

  • Where the Sidewalk Endsby Shel Silverstein
    A boy who turns into a TV set and a girl who eats a whale are only two of the characters in a collection of humorous poetry illustrated with the author's own drawings.

  • A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeline L’Engle
    A trio of whimsical characters, intent on helping Meg find her father, take her, her brother, and a friend on an interplanetary voyage to a distant planet where an omnipotent brain has robotized everyone. 1963 Newbery Award.

  • Are You There God? It's Me Margaretby Judy Blume
    Faced with the difficulties of growing up and choosing a religion, a 12-year-old girl talks over her problems with her own private God.

Sources: http://www.afn.org/~afn15301/drseuss.html (Cyber-Seuss, Dr. Seuss Web Site) http://www.state.mi.us/migov/ltgov/Education_ReadingResources.shtm (State of Michigan Reading Resources) contributed to this report.


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