Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It's March 2nd, Dr. Seuss' birthday. We didn't celebrate at my school this year- too busy with another "special event." Other years, though, I have been at schools where we have done it up big- every class decorated their door like their favorite Dr. Seuss book, people from the community came to read, big kids read to little kids, Dr. Seuss art projects and readers' theaters. At one school, every class came to the cafeteria for birthday cake. Not sure how much it actually did toward helping kids become better readers, but it was definitely big fun…

Dr. Seuss holds a special place in my heart, because HOP ON POP is the first book I can ever remember being able to read. Do you remember the last page? The one with the big yellow circle and the streams of words in red letters? I remember, so clearly, laying on my stomach on my bed, in my pink bedroom on Chelton Road, and being able, all of a sudden, to pick out the individual words in that circle. And taking it to my mom and showing her that I could read. I had other favorite Dr. Seuss books- GO DOG GO (Do you like my hat?), GREEN EGGS AND HAM (I do not like them Sam I Am!), ARE YOU MY MOTHER, HORTON HEARS A WHO, and THE SNEETCHES, but HOP ON POP will always hold a special place in my heart.

I began teaching in the days when teachers spent hours and hours and hours putting up bulletin boards. The summer before I started teaching first and second grade at Boston Primary School, I spent the entire summer, I think, coloring a gigantic Pat sitting on a cactus (No, Pat, no, don't sit on that!), the Sneetches, Sam I Am, and the Cat in the Hat. The first day, we made Cat in the Hat puppets, and little booklets from the "No, Pat, No!" section of HOP ON POP. The second day, I think, we cooked green eggs and ham.

Now, almost 30 years later, I've taught hundred and hundred of kids. I've fallen in love with thousands of authors. I've probably read a million books aloud to kids. This fall, I spent a lot of time in a first grade class, with a teacher that I'm mentoring. And I read those six-year-olds HOP ON POP and GO DOG GO and GREEN EGGS AND HAM. We made Cat in the Hat puppets and did readers' theater. We cooked green eggs and ham. Because some books should be rites of childhood.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

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