Today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss, a day for fun and for exploring a serious subject: the direct line between supporting early grade reading and success in school, career and life.
Dr. Seuss books are known for using silly language and make-believe beings to teach valuable lessons. Education experts say that the made-up words and rhymes challenge kids differently from other children’s books and the silliness can help spark creativity and improve children’s grasp of language. With Dr. Seuss, children learn that language can be playful, and their confidence in and motivation for reading improves. And the more kids read, the better they’ll do in school, and in life.
Since 1997 the NEA’s annual Read Across America has called for every child in every community to celebrate reading on Dr. Seuss’ birthday. And every year, United Way volunteers help make that happen. United Way of Greater Los Angeles is partnering with energy company Valero again this year to bring about 80 volunteers from the company’s Wilmington refinery and across the city to eight schools and community centers.
United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut is mobilizing about 120 volunteers to read to Pre-Kindergartners and first graders in about 40 schools across three school districts. Following last year’s Read Across America Day, a volunteer named Vicky was invited to read regularly to Ms. Diaz’s classroom at Lincoln Elementary School in New Britain, CT. That’s no surprise; many volunteers enjoy the experience and sign on to be a volunteer reader throughout the year. Volunteers relish the immediate response to their reading, as children connect the story, the words and the printed page to the joy of reading.
Whether it’s volunteer reading programs or contributing to children’s book drives, your local United Way can connect you to a literacy project that suits your schedule and meets the most pressing needs in your community. As Dr. Seuss wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Support literacy initiatives in your community, and help make sure that all children have positive places to go.