On March 2, kids across the country donned the Cat in the Hat's famous red-and-white striped stovepipe hats to celebrate Read Across America Day. The event is held each year in honor of Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel's birthday.
The National Association of Educators (NEA) created the annual literacy campaign 13 years ago. This year, more than 45 million readers joined the celebration, according to the NEA. The goal? To get kids excited about reading.
"Regardless of whether a student's favorite subject is math, science, music or English, the common thread to success [in school] is reading," says NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.
Reading Fun with the First Lady
First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan helped to kick off the celebration in Washington, D.C., at the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world. The two read books by Dr. Seuss. The First Lady read The Cat in the Hat to nearly 300 students from Arlington, Virginia and Washington, D.C, Duncan read Horton Hears a Who!
After the reading, Mrs. Obama answered the children's questions. One child asked her about her favorite books. She said that the Obama family favorites are Dr. Seuss's Horton Hatches the Egg and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
"Do you know that the President of the United States reads all the time?" Mrs. Obama said. "Our girls read every single night."
The First Lady also told the audience that she allows her daughters, Sasha, 8, and Malia, 11, to stay up 30 minutes past their bedtime if they are reading.
Seuss on the Loose
The celebration did not end on March 2. The Cat in the Hat hit the road this week for the NEA's Read Across America "Cat-a-Van Reading Tour." The famous feline will travel to Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin to hand out 16,500 Cat in the Hat books to children. The NEA will also donate thousands of dollars to public school libraries.
How can you join in the fun? First, take the reading pledge: "I promise to read each day and each night. I know it's the key to growing up right." Then find a cozy little nook and curl up with a good book!