In the education (and parenting) world there are are always new techniques, creative ideas, and fun unique activities to try. And then there are the tried and true classics that never go out of style.
I have made green eggs and ham every year I’ve taught and it is always a hit! It never fails that my kiddos start out just like the character in Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham by saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Ew yuck. Yea right lady, I ain’t trying that stuff.”
We read the book, have a good chat about the importance of trying new things, and then we put everyone to the test. Inevitably there are students who are still leery of the green eggs, but this is one of the few times where peer pressure does some good. As soon as one brave soul goes for the funny looking plate full of food, and gives the glimmer of a positive response, the rest of the class tends to dive in.
It is the most fun to see their reactions and join in on their excitement. They are proud of themselves for trying something “daring” and new. They are surprised that they like it. And, most of all, they have a connection to a book that they will not soon forget. Like I always say- it’s the simple things in life.
March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday-otherwise known as Read Across America Day. This day was created by the National Education Association as a way to encourage young children to read more and to become excited about books. You may just know this day as the day that you have to dress your kids up in crazy clothes or make a Seuss themed snack for their class, but I promise you, it is so much more than that.
Seuss was fantastic for incorporating rhymes, word families, sight words and silly story lines into his books that generations of children have grown to love. But let’s get honest, his books are, well, long. Even the most seasoned of parents and educators have grown weary while reading Dr. Seuss. If your child’s favorite book happens to be a Seuss one, you’ve no doubt become quite familiar with the lengthiness of his works.
So here’s the thing about reading. It’s not about who can read the fastest. It’s not about who can read the most. And it’s certainly not about only reading one particular author’s books. The point of reading, especially at a young age, should always be enjoyment. The meaning of today’s holiday is to excite children about the fun of reading. Some kids love the predictable pattern of Seuss’s words and feel proud being able to guess which words will come next in the text. Others love his fantastically silly characters. However, if your kid has a limited attention span or just isn’t feeling the Seuss vibes, I encourage you to put down Cat in the Hat and find what works for your little one.
Head to the library. Go to Barnes and Noble. Check out the book section in Target and see what your child gravitates to. (*real books- not audio or digital!) Find new authors or think back to what your favorite book was as a child. Make your read aloud time together be special. Make it fun. And always keep the goal of loving reading as your primary focus.