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February 26, 2013 > Grab your hat and read with the cat

Grab your hat and read with the cat

By Miriam G. Mazliach

You're never too old, too wacky, too wild,
To pick up a book and read with a child.
You're never too busy, too cool, or too hot,
To pick up a book and share what you've got.

In schools and communities,
Let's gather around,
Let's pick up a book,
Let's pass it around.

There are kids all around you,
Kids who will need
Someone to hug,
Someone to read.

Come join us March 1st
Your own special way
And make this America's
Read to Kids Day.
--- Read Across America Poem (NEA) ---

In recognition of Dr. Seuss's birthday, "Grab your hat and read with the cat," (the Cat in the Hat, of course) is the theme of this year's Read Across America. First held in 1998, the National Education Association (NEA) created Read Across America Day to inspire, excite and motivate kids to enjoy reading as a fun, life-long activity while, at the same time, celebrating the birthday of much beloved children's author Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel).

This year, Dr. Seuss's March 2nd birthday falls on a Saturday. Therefore, the official Read Across America Day has been designated as Friday, March 1 so that students across the country can participate with reading-related activities at their schools.

It's commonly known and recognized that children who read frequently develop stronger reading skills. The more a child reads, the better reader he/she will become, as "practice makes perfect," and reading becomes the key to unlock imagination, peak curiosity and inspire learning.

Parents and teachers are strongly encouraged to become actively involved and share their time by reading aloud to their children and students, not only on this special day, but as an ongoing daily practice.

Helping to support the efforts of the NEA this year is Renaissance Dental. "We're asking children and their parents to brush for two minutes, two times per day plus read for 20 minutes each day," said Rob Mulligan, president and CEO at Renaissance Dental. "We know that oral health and reading are directly linked to the well-being and success of a child in school."

The unique partnership also will infuse $500,000 to help bring books and toothbrushes to kids in need. To learn more about the link between oral health and literacy, check out

In our Tri-cities area, quite a few schools will host their own activities for students in celebration of Read Across America/Dr. Seuss Day. Here's a sampling:

Blacow Elementary students will create a "Favorite Book" bulletin board and have a Pajama Day in recognition of Dr. Seuss' birthday.

Gomes will have guest readers, invited by the teachers to read to students.

Grimmer will hold a Book Fair, featuring English and Spanish books, with two nighttime story events for the students and their families.

Patterson will have a classroom door-decorating contest, displaying favorite books and poems, with prizes awarded to the winners.

Snow Elementary is doing a whole school literacy day for Read Across America Day. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., the students and staff will all go out on the blacktop (courtyard) area and read. It is also Snow's Pajama Day.

Graham Elementary's principal will be dressed in his Cat In The Hat costume, and the school is having a "free" book giveaway for all students. Plus Graham is holding a "Drop Everything and Read," which is when the bell rings, teachers will swap classrooms and read to the students in other classrooms.

Union City:
At Searles Elementary, besides reading Dr. Seuss books aloud, the PTC (Parent Teacher Club) will be helping make Dr. Seuss Day a fun event for the kids. PTC parent volunteers will also be handing out chocolate milk to all the students during recess periods.

Pioneer Elementary has invited special guests to read their favorite Dr. Seuss book. The upper grade students will also be reading to younger students throughout the day.

East Avenue Elementary School in Hayward will celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday and Read Across America Day to promote reading appreciation. Fred Sims, Alameda County Board of Education Member; his wife, Sheila Sims and Rawhide, the San Francisco Bulls Hockey Team mascot, will read aloud with fourth, fifth and sixth grade students. In the afternoon, students will complete an online reading comprehension quiz as part of the "Read the Most from Coast to Coast" nationwide reading event.

Sunol School is holding reading events throughout the month in support of March Literacy Month. Students will also be responsible for logging the number of minutes they read each night. The top two winners from each class will be invited to a "Minutes for Muffins" snack with Ms. Molleen Barnes, Superintendent/Principal. In addition, students can bring in new or used books (in o.k. condition) that they do not want any more and trade them for new books, from a box located near the office.

To find out about activities at specific elementary schools in your city, visit these district websites:
New Haven:

And, in the words of The Cat in the Hat:
"The more that you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you'll go."
From: I Can Read With My Eyes Shut by Dr. Seuss

For more ideas or activities to encourage reading at all ages, visit:

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