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In celebration of the late, great Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)’s birthday, the National Education Association (NEA) has dubbed March 2nd National Read Across America Day–a day to motivate adults to spend time reading with their children and to reflect on the importance of instilling a lifelong love of reading.

While the Read Across America initiative is an endeavor which inspires students to read all year long, March 2nd is a day for celebration, inspiration and motivation on a national level. Each year the NEA chooses a National Read Across America Day book by Seuss and and this year, it’s the classic “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.”

Getting kids excited about reading can be a huge investment in their future and according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, “Reading is the single most important skill necessary for a happy, productive and successful life.” A few other reasons to promote reading in children of all ages:

– Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years
– Children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school
– Children who read frequently develop stronger reading and writing skills–invaluable skill sets that they’ll use the rest of their lives!

This year marks the beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss’ 111th birthday! There are quite a few little known facts about Dr. Suess, including the fact that he started using the pen name “Seuss” after getting kicked off the Dartmouth College literary humor magazine. He also had other pen names, such as Theo LeSeig and Rosetta Stone. Also, did you know that Dr. Seuss wasn’t immediately successful? He almost burned his first book “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” after being rejected by 27 publishers!

Furthermore, did you know, Dr. Seuss was not a doctor at all (until granted an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, Dartmouth)? Geisel added Dr. to his pen name because his father had wanted him to practice medicine.

It’s no wonder that the NEA chose the works of Dr. Seuss as the mascot for National Read Across America Day. Geisel emphasized the importance of encouraging reading skills in children at an early age. This year’s chosen work, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” is actually meant to be read “in utero,” meaning, it’s meant to introduce a child-to-be to all of Seuss’s characters.

Thinking about hosting a National Read Across America day event? Check out NEA’s artwork and downloadables for 2015, as well as their other promotional materials.

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