Oh, The Places You’ll Go
Last Friday was Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the students at West Elementary School celebrated in grand style. The Cat in the Hat was there, along with Thing 1 and Thing 2, plus a whole lot of volunteers who read Dr. Seuss stories. After story time, students enjoyed M&Ms and popcorn as a birthday celebration treat.
Thing 1 and Thing 2 are known for being mischievous, but they were on their best behavior. The Cat in the Hat told the students that he asked them to be naughty, so they were nice. He asked them to give them stinky old pencils, but Thing 1 and Thing 2 handed out “smencils” that smelled like delicious fruit.
In Mrs. Faber’s room there was a note:?Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss. We love your terrific books!?Thank You! It was a special morning at West Elementary School.
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born March 2, 1904. His birthday has been adopted as the annual date for National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association.
Dr. Seuss published 46 children’s books. They are all tricky to read, with rhyme about imaginative characters. His most celebrated books include the best selling Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hatches the Egg, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Some have been made into television specials and feature films and even a Broadway musical.
Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street! was rejected numerous times. One place, I read it was rejected 43 times, another place I read it was rejected 27 times. ?Whatever the number, we are oh so happy he persevered. And I also learned that Mulberry Street is located in Dr. Seuss’ hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts, less than a mile from his boyhood home.
One of my favorite Dr. Seuss books is Oh, the Places You’ll Go! It’s a great book for graduates:
“Congratulations! Today is your Day! You’re off to great places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”
Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American writer, poet and cartoonist. Here’s an interesting bit of information: In May 1954, Life magazine published a report on illiteracy among school children, which concluded that children were not learning to read because their books were boring. Accordingly, William Ellsworth Spaulding, the director of the education division at Houghton Miflin who later became its Chairman, compiled a list of 348 words he felt were important for first-graders to recognize and asked Geisel (Dr. Seuss) to cut the list to 250 words and write a book using only those words… “bring back a book children can’t put down.”?Nine months later, Geisel, using 236 of the words given to him, completed The Cat in the Hat. It had all of the style, rhyme and imagination of his earlier works but its simplification made it easy for beginning readers.
So you can see why Dr. Seuss’ birthday, Read Across America and Newspaper in Education Week all tie together. It’s all about reading — and it’s all about education.
Keep reading, everyone.