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At Wesley Chapel's Veterans Elementary School, it's a day for Dr. Seuss

WESLEY CHAPEL

They donned Daisy-Head Mayzie hats and dined on Cat in the Hat snacks made out of doughnut holes, Life Savers and M&M's. They played rhyming word hopscotch in honor of a book called Hop on Pop and traced each other's feet on construction paper in a nod to The Foot Book. And of course there was some reading going on.

This was, after all, the 106th birthday of Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, and students and teachers at Veterans Elementary School joined others across the country celebrating the National Education Association's 13th annual Read Across America Day.

It always falls on March 2, Geisel's birthday.

The good doctor is worth celebrating, no matter what the age. His first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was first published in 1937. Thousands of children have grown up reading his rhyming tales.

They are useful tools in a classroom filled with kindergarten students just learning to read as well as for second-graders who have moved on to chapter books. And while often read in the elementary classroom, Oh! The Places You Will Go is a favored gift for those graduating from high school or college.

"His books really relate and children really enjoy the use of rhyming," said primary teacher Kerry Donegan, who was overseeing a Seuss celebration for kindergarten and first-grade students with fellow teachers Heather Cencerik, Lizette Rogers and Angela Bosaaen. "They are books they like to read. Books they can read."

Second-grader Emma Dietsch concurred.

"They're fun books," said Emma, 7, while cleaning her desk after making Cat in the Hat treats in her classroom. "They're really easy to read."

True, but there's more to Dr. Seuss than an easy read, said her teacher, Rachell Brown.

There's a good reason why his books have endured for decades, Brown said.

"They all seem to have important lessons in them that still apply today," she said, noting that lessons in environmentalism, perseverance, racism and the perils of war are addressed in books such as The Lorax, Horton Hatches an Egg, The Sneetches and The Butter Battle Book.

"That is why I feel that they are just as important for kindergartners as a second-grader," she said. "I think I look more into the message that it is giving them."

At Wesley Chapel's Veterans Elementary School, it's a day for Dr. Seuss 03/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 4:47pm]
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