“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss, “I can read with my eyes shut!”
I love reading, always have. I love the fact that my children enjoy reading too and are delighted they enjoy the adventures a good book takes them on. That’s one reason I’m encouraged every year to see the major emphasis in the school systems and libraries around the country on reading. Every March, since 1998, there has been an annual campaign appropriately dubbed, “Read Across America.”
The tribute was established around the birthday of one of the world’s favorite children’s book authors, and still one of mine – Theodore Seuss Geisel, or you may know him as Dr. Seuss.
Dr. Seuss would have turned 110 years old on Sunday, March 2 and is honored by this event for his ability to open doorways and transport his readers across time and space, while binding families and friends together. There’s never been an author to have as much flare for creativity and talent for peaking the imagination, as did Dr. Seuss. He’s known for a number of children’s books including, “The Cat in the Hat,” Horton Hears a Who” and so, so many more.
If you’re like me and have shared a book with a child, then you must have known the joy and excitement this small but meaningful act can bring. But according to The National Center for Education Statistics, since 1993 only 53 to 58 percent of children ages three to five received this joy on a daily basis. The National Education Association created the event, and now in its 17th year, continues to focus on motivating children and teens to read.
I’ll confess, I’m a bit biased toward the importance of reading. That’s especially true considering the line of work I’m in. In all fairness, though, much of my regard for reading comes as a direct result of looking into the eyes of my children when reading a book like “The Cat in the Hat” or “Llama, Llama, Red Pajamas” at bedtime. To see pages of words illustrated in such a way that takes a child from their bedroom to some far off place is just indescribable. And I know that despite how elementary some of the stories I get to share are, that the learning curve has already begun for them. It’s our job as parents to make sure that they stay ahead of that curve, or for some just to make sure they are in the loop.
Read Across America makes reading a high priority this week. It brings the importance of reading front and center in the classrooms and in libraries across our country. If we want our children to be successful, then we’ve got to teach them the art of reading. Then we’ve got to encourage them to do it often. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better recipe for success than learning to fall in love with reading. And who knows, it all might start with a good Dr. Seuss book. After all, as they say in Seussville, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”