Elementary students gear up for Read Across America Day

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 1, 2003

Today, March 2, Dr. Seuss (whose given name is Theodor Geisel) will turn 99 and tomorrow the whole world will celebrate, including city and county schools.

Students will honor the literary legend, made famous by his books including "The Cat in the Hat," "Horton Hears a Who" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," with a day of reading and celebration.

His birthday is the center of the National Education Association's Read Across America 2003.

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This year, March 3 is set aside as Dr. Seuss's day of recognition.

The program is celebrated in all 50 states and Department of Defense schools in Germany and Japan, making it the largest celebration of its kind in the United States.

NEA started the program in 1998 as a way to promote reading while celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday.

Last year, country music star Garth Brooks served as the event's chair and attracted over 45 million participants.

For the first time, the Alabama Education Association has named a statewide spokesperson to help broadcast the celebration.

United States Representative Arthur Davis of Birmingham said he was honored to head up the celebration.

&uot;It's imperative that we get children of all ages to realize that there is no better tool for personal, academic, social, or economic advancement than through education, and the key to a solid foundation in education is reading,&uot; he told the Alabama School Journal, the AEA's official publication.

Local celebrations will include guest readers throughout the day and students dressed in Cat in the Hat trademark red and white striped stovepipe hats.

Tomorrow, Pike County Elementary teachers will dress in black and wear Cat in the Hat bow ties and hats.

Goshen Elementary students will eat green eggs and ham for lunch, and Troy Elementary kindergartners will listen to local business and political leaders read Dr. Seuss classics.

Additionally, Banks Primary School will have a family night from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the middle school library.

Read Across America has over 40 national sponsors including PBS, Saturn, Random House Children's Books and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.