Happy National Read Across America Day (March 2nd—Dr. Seuss’s Birthday)! This reading-focused holiday is the nation’s largest celebration of reading and the start of both National Read Across America Week and National Reading Month—an entire month dedicated to celebrating reading.
The wonderful celebration starts with the birthday of beloved children’s book author, Dr. Seuss.
So in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and as part of the beginning of your celebration of reading this year, here are some fun Dr. Seuss-focused activities you can do with your family or class.
What are some fun Dr. Seuss activities you can do with your family or class?
1. Share the following facts you may not know about Dr. Seuss on Dr. Seuss Day
- Did you know that the beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss’ full name is Theodor Seuss Geisel? Not only is Seuss his middle name, but his family actually pronounced his middle name “Zoise,” which rhymes with voice, not “Soose.”
- This prestigious children’s author and cartoonist was voted “Least Likely to Succeed” by his classmates at Dartmouth College. It certainly seems extremely unkind to give this superlative to a fellow classmate. However, his GPA upon graduation from Dartmouth was only 2.4 and Dr. Seuss himself said, “It took me almost a quarter of a century to find the proper way to get my words and pictures married. At Dartmouth I couldn’t even get them engaged.” This is a great lesson in persistence and finding your own creative path, which may not always be traditional. (Source)
- Dr. Seuss’ first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was reportedly rejected 27 times before finally being published in 1937.
He wrote his book Green Eggs and Ham on a bet with his publisher that he couldn’t write a book using only 50 words. Here are the 50 words:
a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you
- Dr. Seuss used the pen name Theo LeSieg for books he authored but did not illustrate. “LeSieg” is Geisel, his last name, spelled backwards. Some of the books he wrote with this pseudonym include The Tooth Book and Ten Apples up on Top. In addition, Dr. Seuss also published one book (Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo!!) under the name Rosetta Stone in honor of his second wife whose maiden name was Stone.
- When he was a Boy Scout, he was embarrassed on stage by former President Theodore Roosevelt. As a boy, young Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and 9 other boy scouts were set to receive an award presented by President Rosevelt for sales they made in a war bond drive. Unfortunately, someone made a mistake and only gave 9 awards to the former President. When Geisel’s turn came up to be presented his award President Rosevelt exclaimed, “What’s this boy doing here?” This event led to a fear of appearing before an audience. (Source)
2. Create your own author pen name
Just like Dr. Seuss, you could try using your middle name, a different pronunciation of your name, your name read backwards, or anything else! Be creative!
3. Write your own story using the same 50 words in Green Eggs and Ham
Can you take on the same challenge as Dr. Seuss? Take the same 50 words that he was challenged to use for his book Green Eggs and Ham and try to write a short rhyme or story. You can also try this with a custom list of 50 words you come up with!
4. Read The Boy on Fairfield Street
The Boy on Fairfield Street is a favorite picture book biography of a young Ted Geisel before becoming Dr. Seuss. This is a great book that children can relate to as they learn about the struggles and triumphs of a young Dr. Seuss and what made him tick.
5. Read My Many Colored Days
My Many Colored Days is a lesser known title by Dr. Seuss that was actually published after his death. This is a lovely book that is great for grown ups to use to help teach young children about feelings and emotions.
6. Read Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!
Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! is another lesser known title that was started by Dr. Seuss and finished by Jack Prelutski and Lane Smith based on verses and sketches Dr. Seuss had made before his death. It’s a fun romp at a most unusual school and a fitting tribute to Dr. Seuss.
7. Take on the “Fox in Sox challenge"
Fox in Sox is full of hilarious tongue twisters.Add some extra fun to reading these rhymes by challenging each other to see who can read them the fastest! For example, try out this especially tough verse at the end of the book:
8. Read Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is an inspiring book to read with a child that will teach them about the ups and downs and adventures of life. Fun fact: Oh, the Places You’ll Go was the last book Dr. Seuss published before he died in 1991.
This book also makes an inspiring gift. It makes a heartfelt, encouraging graduation gift for your child when they graduate high-school or college. Another great idea is to buy this book for a child during their first year of school and have the child’s school teachers write a note in the book each year. When they graduate they will have beautiful reminders of encouragement and love.
9. Read as many Dr. Seuss books as you can
Of course, the best way of all to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday is to read any of his books. So head to the library, find all the Dr. Seuss books you can, and sit down for a nice evening reading with your children. Here are some of our most favorite Dr. Seuss books to read:
- Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
- If I Ran The Zoo
- The Lorax
- Ten Apples Up on Top
- Hop on Pop
- Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?
- What Was I Scared Of? (there is a fun glow in the dark version of this book that kids love)
- Fox in Sox
- The Tooth Book
- The Foot Book
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Horton Hears a Who
- The Cat in the Hat
- ABC Book
- Oh the Thinks You Can Think
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Happy Read Across America Day!
Happy Birthday to you, Dr. Seuss! Check out the National Education Association for more information on Read Across America day, and learn more about Reading With RIK here.