This Saturday marks what would have been Dr. Seuss’ 109th birthday. The beloved children’s author wrote more than 40 children’s books and was deeply dedicated to children’s literacy. In fact, his popular title, The Cat in the Hat, was written using the 250 words he thought all first graders should be able to recognize.
In honor of Seuss’ contributions to improve children’s literacy, the National Education Association has always held its annual reading and motivation program, Read Across America Day, on or around Seuss’ birthday on March 2. This year, Read Across America will be celebrating its 16th year on March 1. Its goal is to share activities to encourage families and children to read 365 days a year.
Loads of free printables!
On the NEA website you can find free printable calendars, activity books, bookmarks, certificates of achievement and appreciation, posters, and even a variety of booklists. And because they have partnered this year with Renaissance Dental to help children learn about the importance of oral health, you can also download a reading and brushing log, as well as your own booklet full of fun tooth facts to keep your mouth healthy and a reading and brushing log.
Here at NBC Latino, we think it would be a great idea to celebrate children’s literacy and oral health by reading René Colato-Laínez’s book, The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez. A beautifully illustrated book, the story celebrates two cultures and tells what happens with two folk heroes come together to collect one tooth. You can read the amusing real-life story that inspired Colato-Laínez to write this book over on the Latin Baby Book Club.
Visit your local library
Many libraries are celebrating Read Across America Day by hosting Dr. Seuss-themed events. From story time to birthday cakes, libraries across the country are prepared to help children and their families get caught up in the excitement of reading. And librarians are a great resource to help parents find books that match their child’s age and reading level.
Throw a party!
If you can’t find any Read Across America events happening near you, then why not take matters into your own hands and throw a Book Swap Party? Invite family and friends over for a fun party. Here’s the catch: They have to bring at least one book (but more than one is fine!) to trade with each other. Your children may find a treasure in a book that another child has already read or outgrown. Any books left over can be donated to your local library, Head Start program, daycare, or preschool.
Check out The Cat in the Hat
The award-winning PBS KIDS TV series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! teaches children in preschool through second grade about basic science and math concepts. This Friday they’ll be airing two new episodes in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and launching a new game on the show’s official website. In the game, “Swirly Whirly Pearl Hunt,” the Swirly Whirly Ocean is filled with aquatic creatures of all colors, shapes and sizes, and players can catch a ride on the Thinga-ma-jigger to travel deeper and deeper through silly, Seussian schools of fish. The Swirly Whirly Pearl is waiting somewhere far below, along with the chance to create a personalized school of mix-and-match sea creatures.
In addition, your kids might enjoy the PBS KIDS LAB and its educational games for kids that help them learn about things like measuring to deductive reasoning. The best part is that this site offers the activities in both English and Spanish.
Monica Olivera Hazelton, NBC Latino contributor and the founder and publisher ofMommyMaestra.com, a site for Latino families that homeschool, as well as families with children in a traditional school setting who want to take a more active role in their children’s education. She is the 2011 winner of the “Best Latina Education Blogger” award by LATISM.