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A Seussitastical Celebration! Read Across America

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Birthdays are always special. When it's time to party for Dr. Seuss, it's a big hurray for the day! 

Two of my grandkids have Valentine birthdays. We're getting set in Eugene for an at-home five year old party. Trips to the dollar store, pin-the-tail, simple is always best. There is a really big Seussitastical celebration coming up, time to get ready for the party of parties! Read Across America, a signature project of the National Education Association, is a great uniter. March 2, each year, the NEA honors Dr. Seuss on his birthday. And what a fun literacy fiesta it is!

You're all set with ready-to-go lesson plans, event organization, city visits, press releases, etc. One click, Google NEA, Read Across America for a multitude of resources. First celebrated in 1998, this is the frosting on the literacy cake!

We're especially lucky this year, because we have an unexpected addition to the prolific collection, What Pet Should I Get? 

I love classic Dr. Seuss books. Each one is filled with colorful, creative, magical, really cool characters and settings. The fabulous illustrations are exciting for children and stimulate interesting conversation, art, music and writing.

Did you realize Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) wrote 46 books? I know about half of them really well and keep discovering new favorites. Thank you Dr. Seuss for making us smile, fingers snapping and toes tapping to your magical, lyrical beat!

Here are some reasons we love your work so much- AND remind ourselves play IS learning. Your stories are heartwaming, instructional and help build fluency. 

    1. Use sing-song voices.
    2. Experiment with language patterns.
    3. Learn through concrete play.
    4. Teach basic phonemic awareness and phonics.
    5. Read out loud, together, varying rate and expression.
    6. Practice counting and basic math.
    7. The descriptive language is strong.
    8. Rhyme, rhythm and predictable patterns make sense to new readers.
    9. Perfect for all ages.
    10. Great for struggling readers, new language learners, those with unique needs.

Playful language patterns, tongue twisters and innovative language inventions make reading a grand adventure. Simple poetry, a lyrical beat makes reading a treat! Get out those rhythm instruments, start moving and gooving! 

I've never met anyone, any age who didn't like these adventurous stories and unique worlds. What's more fun than using puppets, props or wearing silly hats and costumes? Better yet, each Dr. Seuss book offers teaching opportunities on a topic (weather, counting, etc.) and various skills, notably word families, through all the rhyming.

In December my granddaughter Morgan and I read How The Grinch Stole Christmas. January featured Dr. Seuss' s ABC. For Feb. we're readingThe Tooth Book, and Happy Birthday!  Ready to go-pile includes The Sneetches, The Cat's Quizzer, The Lorax, There's a Wocket in my Pocket, and Oh Say, Can You Say, What's the Weather Today?  Awesome.

I LOVE THESE BOOKS. Wear your Seuss party hat and fill your party bag with this sampler:

  1. Bartholomew and the Oobleck: Seasons, weather, sequence, scientific method, science experiment.
  2. I Can Read with My Eyes Shut: Colors, syllables, spelling (Missippippi), contractions, rhyming.
  3. The Cat In The Hat: Word families: ay; at; out; ake; an; ot; also rhyme and repetition. 
  4. Dr. Seuss's ABC: Sounds, alphabet (upper and lower case letters), rhyming, colors, predictable patterns.
  5. The Tooth Book: Perfect for your little one losing teeth. Rhyming. Great pictures. Easier level.
  6. Hop On Pop: Simple Dr. Seuss. Few words on each page. Rhyming. Word Families: ed, all, op, ing, up, own, ee, ad, at. Also concepts of mother, father, sister and brother. 
  7. Oh, Say, Can You Say?: For more advanced Seuss kids. Rhyming and hilarious tongue twisters.
  8. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: Opposites, direction, counting, rhyming, word families.
  9. Green Eggs and Ham: Rhyme, rhythm, predictable patterns, word families.
  10. Fox in Socks: Tongue Twisters, rhyming, contractions, word families, punctuation.
  11. Ten Apples On Top: Great counting book, Seuss style. Abacus handy?
  12. Oh, The Places You'll Go!: Directions, rhyming, plus, the most motivational book, ever! 

Of most importance, savor the words and colorful tip-of-your-tongue language. Sharing Dr. Seuss is a special class and family reading time tradition, all year long. 

One more book. What Pet Should I Get? Written more than fifty years ago, found in a box! Dr. Seuss' love of animals shines brightly in this new story.


    1. Read straight through as a Read-Aloud.
    2. Do a Book-Walk: Peek at the front, back covers and illustrations.
    3. Background knowledge: "Do you have a pet at home? If so, what? Who takes care of the pet? Who picked the pet?" 
    4. Looking at front and back covers, make a prediction what the book is about.
    5. Count how many pets are on the front cover and name them.
    6. What is the strange looking pet on the back cover? 
    7. Look for repeating rhymes "We want a pet. We want a pet. What kind of pet should we get?" 
    8. Hunt for the word familes: ing, ish, all, et,  etc.

And now for the ending. SHHHH. I'll whisper it to you. Did you hear it? Ask your kiddos to write, draw, retell parts of the story, favorite characters, pets and the best one yet. Who DID Dr. Seuss pick? Do you like the ending? Were you surprised?

I'd love to hear from you about your Dr. Seuss favorites. Horton! Enjoy Read Across America and make every day a Seussistastical celebration!

Leaving footprints on your reading hearts, Rita

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Modeling the art and craft of teaching reading for 47 years, Mrs. Wirtz taught language arts, speech and reading at all levels preschool-adult, including penal. She served as Pre-school and K-6 Principal. Rita was also a Curriculum Consultant, ESEA, Title I Program Evaluator and literacy trainer. At the university level she taught school administration in the Bilingual Cohort at CSUS and National University, Sacto. Mrs. Wirtz also taught all reading courses for Chapman University for many years in Sacramento and Placerville, Ca., and mentored student teachers. On the national level she was a well known motivational Keynote Speaker and Seminar Leader. Most importantly, Rita walked the talk, teaching with teachers in more than 500 K-12 and special needs classrooms. Rita authored books, publications and Pre- YouTube, videos were filmed by San Diego County Office of Education. Calif. ASCD authored companion book guides, and Calif. school districts correlated her basic skills instruction with State Standards. Mrs. Wirtz' newest book is Reading Champs! Teaching Reading Made Easy, a review of the basic building blocks of English and Reading. Rita is currently teaching in a multi-age, fully incuded preschool, ages 2-8. Find Mrs. Wirtz on Twitter @RitaWirtz, Facebook and website- www.ritawirtz.com.

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Guest Sunday, 17 February 2019