March 2, 2018
The Gazette, By: Debbie Kelley
Whether kids are having trouble getting the hang of reading or are pretty good at it, Dr. Seuss is at their service.
"He has rhyming words that are very challenging to your tongue - it's like a tongue twister - but it's easy to read," says 7-year-old Anabelle Fields, a second-grader at Wildflower Elementary School.
The popular author would have turned 114 years old on Friday, and schools, libraries, bookstores and literacy centers across the nation are marking his birthday with special events.
At Wildflower, a two-time National Blue Ribbon Award winning school in Harrison School District 2, Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey was among the guests who read to students as part of the Read Across America Day promotion by the National Education Association.
The annual reading motivation and awareness program calls for every child to celebrate reading on Dr. Seuss' birthday. The program also supplies resources and activities to make reading a daily activity.
Theodor Seuss Geisel, an American political cartoonist, poet, animator, book publisher and artist, was best known for writing and illustrating 44 children's books under the pen name Dr. Seuss.
"His books are so playful and fun, which is why he's relevant today," says Pamela Polke, program director for the Children's Literacy Center, which provides free tutoring at 13 sites in the region to students who read below grade level.
Among his most popular books are "Green Eggs and Ham," "The Cat in the Hat," "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" and "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"
His fantasies brought to life such characters as Horton the elephant, Thing One and Thing Two, the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who of Whoville.
Polke has a collection of Dr. Seuss books in her office. She likes that the stories weave life lessons into the frivolity.
"He uses nonsense words but imparts such wisdom," Polke said.
Roman Patik, also a second-grader at Wildflower Elementary, says his favorite is "Green Eggs and Ham."
The character Sam-I-Am tries to get another character to try green eggs and ham, who says he doesn't like green eggs and ham. But when he finally tastes the dish, he likes it.
Roman, 7, says he's had the same experience.
"I never tried onions before because I didn't think I'd like them, but when I had them on McDonald's hamburgers, I liked it," he said.
On Wednesday, students at Wildflower Elementary read Dr. Seuss' "Wacky Wednesday," which is full of silly mistakes like a green sun, a shoe on the ceiling and bananas in an apple tree. It was also Wacky Hat Day at school, as a tribute to Dr. Seuss' famous hat collection. Anabelle's mom fashioned her strawberry blonde hair into a garden, with bees, a bun holding a bird's nest and flowers.
She likes Wacky Wednesday the best of all Dr. Seuss' books. "Everything's so wacky. You have to look at the pictures to find what's wrong. It's challenging but fun."
Dr. Seuss's birthday is one of Wildflower Elementary library tech Diane Downs' favorite days.
"It fosters the love of reading for students," she said. "He just had a wonderful brain and shared it with all of us."