By Sarah Breisch
March was officially recognized as National Reading Month by the National Education Association in 1998. This month was chosen because March 2 is the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known to most of us by his pen name, Dr. Seuss. The name Dr. Seuss has become almost synonymous with children’s literature, and you will find his charming illustrations of unusual creatures on everything from lunch boxes and pajamas to Band-Aids and, of course, books.
While we know that reading is something we should engage in daily, recognizing its importance through celebration can be a good way to renew our interest in it. Among many possible choices, Dr. Seuss is a great American author to honor during National Reading Month.
He is the grandson of immigrants to this country, and his journey to becoming a successful author is one of initial failure, trial and error, hard work and luck. His work also exemplifies what is best about literature geared toward children:
This month, I would like to explore those three facets of children’s literature. Understanding and implementing them where developmentally appropriate can help us as parents and teachers to better engage with our children and students through the written word. And that is something that we must do.
Not only is the richness of the human experience to be found in books, but from a young age we should instill in children a love and respect for books. Books can help a parent and child bond as they share them during young childhood; books can be a means of solitary discovery or of developing self-awareness for an adolescent; but ultimately, a good book can help us to overcome our divisions through the magic of meaningful language.
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