March is Reading Month at Baldwin Elementary

March is National Reading Month. March was chosen to celebrate reading because it is the anniversary of Theodor Geisel’s birth.

Mr. Geisel is probably better known as “Dr. Seuss.”

Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 – 107 years ago last week. He was born in Springfield, Mass., the son of a brewmaster and a housewife. He attended college at Dartmouth. His father insisted he get an education since the likelihood of becoming a brewmaster like he and his father before him was slim now that prohibition was the law. He went on to Oxford in England to study to become a college professor, as his dad encouraged.

After numerous jobs in advertising and as a cartoonist, he was given the challenge to write a children’s book using the 225 most frequently used vocabulary words of young children. He thought back to his mother who often soothed her children to sleep by chanting rhymes she had remembered from her childhood ... and thus Cat in the Hat was born. The rest is history.

Although often criticized by more “serious” authors, his mission to make reading fun became his life-long passion. He went on to write 44 books which sold more than 200 million copies in 15 languages.

Reading expands language development, vocabulary and thinking skills. It exposes the reader to a world far beyond his own. Reading also introduces children to different types of writing. Children see how authors choose a style and words to convey a message or create an image. These skills increase our knowledge base and the likelihood of employability. It is the key to self-sufficiency and the possibility of a fulfilling life.

According to reading experts, parents who read to their children give them a lifelong gift. Children love to hear the rhythm and the cadence of the words. Stories come to life as they imagine the characters and work through their problems. They begin to associate reading and books with warm, secure feelings. It is when reading becomes linked with pleasure that children begin to read more and thus become better readers.