Are you stuck in the house with nothing to do? Let "The Cat in the Hat" come calling on you.
The birthday of author Theodor Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss, is just around the corner on March 2. The National Education Association is celebrating with its 13th annual "Read Across America Day."
This year's nationwide reading campaign will showcase "The Lorax" - both the Dr. Seuss book and the animated movie version set to open nationwide on March 2. The Lorax is a fuzzy yellow creature that "speaks for the trees" and tries to save them. The message: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
Kids who love to read started with someone who cared enough to share books - again and again - from day one, the education association says.
Random House's first book specified for beginning readers was "The Cat in the Hat," published in 1957. Much of what makes Dr. Seuss books accessible to early readers, teachers say, is that most of the words are one syllable, the vocabulary is limited, the rhymes are fun to repeat and the whimsical drawings give clues about the words.
But before reading comes hearing, educators say. The sound of a caregiver's voice talking and singing, repeating and rhyming is calming and deserves to be part of a child's daily routine.
Read a book such as "Hop on Pop" to your toddler and watch his eyes light up when he makes the simple connection and plops on your lap. One day he'll surprise you with another step toward learning to read: Repeating such phrases as, "We like to hop on top of Pop."
You can brainstorm with your kids after reading "The Cat in the Hat" together: What if a cat in a hat came to your house while your mom was gone? Would you even let him in? Would you tell your mother what happened after such a crazy day?
Make prints of your child's feet and use "The Foot Book" to teach about basic concepts such as left and right, high and low, front and back.
Looking for a graduation present? Buy some funky pajamas and the Seuss classic, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" Remember: "You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."
The website seussville.com even has college scholarship opportunities related to the author, as well as online games inspired by his books.
Research ideas and download printable activities at the National Education Association's website at www.nea.org/ readacross .