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The Cat in the Hat helps out with Dr. Seuss Day on Friday.

Dr. Seuss Day

Elementary school children across Harlan County and the nation participated in Dr. Seuss Day on Friday, which is held simultaneously with Read Across America Day every year on the birthday of the legendary children’s author.

According to the website, the National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2 — Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together children and books.

Harlan County Schools Superintendent Brent Roark explained all the elementary schools in the Harlan County School District participate in the program.

“It is always a big deal in our school district,” Roark said. “All of our elementary schools participate. Our teachers and staff put a lot of effort into it. It is great to have community leaders and dignitaries to come into our schools and read to our students. Most of our central office staff takes part as well. Events vary by school, but the highlight is seeing these folks come into our schools and share with our students. We appreciate it very much, because it helps to reinforce what we tell them daily about the importance of reading.”

Harlan Independent Schools Superintendent C.D. Morton explained the city district always participates in the event.

“We are always excited when this week comes along,” Morton said. “We actually celebrate it for multiple days. We have guest speakers in our classrooms reading to our students, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the value of reading.”

Morton pointed out reading aloud is the foundation for reading development.

“It’s the single most important activity for reading success,” Morton said. “It shows the rewards of reading and develops the listener’s interest in books. Reading really is fundamental to school success for kids.”

Dr. Seuss — Theodor Seuss Geisel — was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Holidays Calender website at states in 1921, Dr. Seuss graduated from high school and enrolled at Dartmouth College. While there, he joined the humor magazine the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern and eventually became an editor-in-chief. After he was caught drinking, which was illegal during Prohibition, he was forced to resign from the magazine. However, he decided to keep working for it and instead used the pen name “Seuss.” When he graduated in 1925, he then entered Lincoln College, Oxford to work towards his Ph.D. in English Literature. While at Oxford he met Helen Palmer, a woman who would encourage him to pursue a career in art instead of becoming an English teacher.

“Dr. Seuss’ ‘Read Across America’ is one of my favorite times of the year,” said James A. Cawood Elementary Principal John Carter. “This year, at James A. Cawood Elementary School, we called it ‘Read Across JACES Week.’ Each day the students dressed in different Dr. Seuss outfits and the teachers decorated their doors and hallways. We always go all out at JACES for Read Across America. Also, we purchased cupcakes for every student and staff member in the school, along with welcoming community leaders to come into our school to read to our students. After all, this is their school too. We just have a great time.”

Rosspoint Elementary will be having their celebration in two weeks, according to Rosspoint Elementary RTA Teacher Sandy Lundy.

“Rosspoint will be having our Dr. Seuss Celebration the week of March 19-23 with a Seuss Family Night on March 20,” Lundy said. “Students will participate by dressing up in a certain theme each day that week. Family Night will have Reading and Math activities, gift bags, crafts, games, food, door decorating contests, scavenger hunt, and the reading of Dr. Seuss books.”

Green Hills Elementary School marked the occasion with a week-long celebration.

“On Monday we had ‘Wear Crazy Socks Day’ and read ‘Fox in Sox,’” said Green Hills Elementary Principal Jonathon Perkins. “Tuesday was ‘Wear all Green Day’ and read ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’ Wednesday was ‘Wear a Hat Day’ and read’ Cat in the Hat’ and Thursday was ‘Wear As Many Different Colors as You Can Day’ and read ‘My Many Colored Day.’ We concluded the celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday by having a cupcake party with milk while watching a Dr. Seuss movie.”

Cawood Elementary FRYSC Coordinator Melissa Owens said Dr. Seuss Day was a success at Cawood Elementary.

“With all the students that participated in dressing up as their favorite character, you would think that some of Dr. Seuss’ books had come to life in our school!” Owens said. “The green eggs and ham for breakfast went well. Some were amazed at seeing eggs in a different color other than yellow.”

The Holidays Calendar website states Dr. Seuss was very active from 1927 until 1990, writing many beloved children’s books. He died on September 24, 1991, at the age of 87; however, his legacy lived on. In 2009, the Cat in the Hat sold over 450,000 copies; Green Eggs and Ham sold over 540,000 copies, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish sold over 400,000 copies. In 1997, the National Education Association wanted a day to celebrate reading and to encourage children to read all over the United States, so the first Read Across America Day was held on March 2nd, 1998, set to coincide with the birthday of Dr. Seuss.