You’re never too old, wacky or wild

Published on Monday, February 4, 2013

It's that time of year again! That's right, NJEA members, it's time to don your red and white stovepipe hats and join the nationwide celebration of reading. Friday, March 1, is Read Across America Day, and for the 15th year running, NJEA is working to promote reading and literacy through Read Across America-NJ.

Read Across America is an annual celebration of reading that culminates this year on March 2, which would have been the 109th birthday of prolific children's book author Theodor Seuss Geisel, known and loved worldwide as Dr. Seuss.

Nationwide, educators and communities are urged to take part in Building a Nation of Readers. Schools around the country will celebrate the day with reading fairs, assemblies, and other literacy-related events.

NJEA encourages all schools as well as members of their community to take part in the celebration. All participants are invited to pay tribute to Dr. Seuss by proudly wearing an iconic red-and-white stovepipe hat, the symbol of his signature character, the Cat in the Hat.

"Read Across America is one of our most popular programs of the year," said NJEA President Barbara Keshishian. "As educators, we enjoy having the opportunity to celebrate reading in exciting and creative ways."

This year, educators can find Dr. Seuss-related items through Smilemakers, a division of Staples. In fact, NJEA/NEA members can get 20% off their purchase and free shipping on all orders over $25! Visit for more information.

NJEA has made a major investment in Read Across America, and each year that commitment grows.  This year, NJEA’s thematic approach is rooted in the iconic classic, Green Eggs and Ham, a critically-acclaimed book which went on to be the fourth best-selling children’s book of all time.

In addition, thanks to NJEA's ongoing passion to support childhood literacy in exciting ways, retired educators will again travel across the state in February and March dressed in seven-foot-tall professional Cat in the Hat costumes. They will visit over 250 schools, bringing the literacy message to thousands of students. Once again, the Cat will gift the library of each school he visits with an anniversary copy of Green Eggs and Ham.

Along the way, the Cat will encounter the many creative ways that schools celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday, including everything from green eggs and ham breakfasts and pajama parties to reading extravaganzas featuring politicians, pundits, sports celebrities, and stars of television and movies.

"When we think about Read Across America, we often think of red and white stovepipe hats, visits from the Cat-in-the-Hat, and green eggs and ham, but this program is more than just fun and amusing celebration," Keshishian stated. "Read Across America is about encouraging literacy and inspiring children to develop a genuine love of reading.  When children see their parents and community leaders taking the time to read to them, it reinforces the importance of reading."

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