I don’t remember any specific times that Cat in the Hat was read to me as a child. Growing up, I have zero recollection of what shelf Green Eggs and Ham was placed on in my house. I’m not even sure which Dr. Seuss book was my favorite back then.
One thing I’m sure of, though, Dr. Seuss books were an impressionable and significant part of my childhood. Decades after Seuss books were first read to me, I can still recite most of the books, word for word. And, I cannot deny the sentimental feelings I get when I’m reading these children’s’ classics to my own children.
And I’m not alone. Dr. Seuss is an iconic part of most of our childhoods, which is why it should be no surprise that Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2), has become a national holiday of sorts.
Classrooms and schools across the nation and the world will gather children of all ages for Read Across America. They will recite ‘Wocket in my Pocket’ and dress up like ‘Fox in Socks’ and maybe even taste some green eggs and ham.
Theodor Seuss "Ted" Geisel, would have been 116 years young this year. During his life, he was responsible for writing and illustrating more than 60 different children’s’ books, many of which became of the most popular books of all time.
It would be short-sighted to think that this holiday ONLY celebrates Seuss, though. Read Across America is a celebration of the importance and significance of reading, especially at a young age.
Consider these facts:
- Across the nation less than half of children between birth and five years (47.8%) are read to every day by their parents or other family members.
- Daily reading to children can put them one year ahead of their peers who are not read to each day.
- Books in the home are strongly linked to academic achievement.
- Children growing up in homes with at least 20 books get three more years of schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class.
- The most successful way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children is to increase their access to books.
These statistics are startling and should serve as a reminder on this literacy holiday and every day, how important reading is to children, nationwide and right here in our community.
Goodwill has taken action and created a new program that works to address issues of literacy in our own community.
Book Works was a program first launched by Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio in late 2019. The program provides gently used, age appropriate books to children and child care centers at no charge.
Thousands of books have already reached children throughout Stark County as a result of the Book Works program, and in 2020, thousands more will be served.
Children’s books that have been donated to Goodwill and not sold in stores are sorted and cleaned by local volunteers. Then, Goodwill partners with area schools, daycares and agencies to fulfill orders. Children that are part of the Books Works program are provided a minimum of five books, and centers are provided a minimum of 25 books. Books range from infant board books to first chapter books to teen novels. And, yes, Dr. Seuss books are oftentimes part of the Book Works order!
So, in honor of Read Across America and Dr. Seuss’ birthday and all the wonderful Seuss memories we all might share, here are a few things that you can do to support literacy in the local community:
- Read to your children. Reading just 15 minutes a day can make a significant difference in the educational achievement of a child.
- Donates children’s books to Goodwill. Your unused children’s books are a much-needed donation at local Goodwill stores. Find a donation center near you today.
- Volunteer with the Book Works program. Volunteer groups are needed to sort and clean the books for the program. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Enroll your school, daycare or church in the Book Works program by completing an order form. Book orders are typically filled within two or three weeks of the order. Supplies may affect fulfillment date.