HOLLYWOOD — Decked out in his signature striped hat, the Cat in the Hat served up rhymes and good times during the Hollywood Preschool’s annual Dr. Seuss breakfast March 2, the 112th birthday of the late author Theodor Seuss Geisel.
“Kids like it and are excited about it,” said Jennine Perez, Hollywood Preschool center manager. “Teachers have been reading Dr. Seuss books all week and parents love the character breakfasts.”
The event coincided with Read Across America Day, created by the National Education Association in 1998 as a reading motivation and awareness program for children. According to the organization’s website, research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.
The preschool also scheduled the Scholastic Book Fair to coincide with Read Across America Day.
Geisel wrote and illustrated 44 children’s books, including the beloved “Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” He won two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and a Pulitzer Prize.
More than 20 volunteers from various departments read to students during the five-day reading event. It was the first year Perez reached out to tribal departments in Hollywood to enlist employees to read to the students. The school is considering expanding the volunteer readers to a tribalwide program, Perez said.
“It made my day; they were adorable,” said Shammes El-Hout Freire, Executive Operations Office special projects coordinator. “They were almost sitting on my lap. I would definitely do it again. It was fulfilling and their interaction was adorable.”
The U.S. Department of Education states parental involvement in a child’s reading and education is crucial to success. A 1996 reading literacy study found “where parent involvement is low, the classroom mean average (reading score) is 46 points below the national average. Where involvement is high, classrooms score 28 points above the national average – a gap of 74 points.”
At the breakfast, parents sampled their children’s lives away from home.
“They always talk about their friends at home. Now I know who they are talking about and who they play with at school,” said Audrey Osceola, who attended with three of her children and a niece.
Although Osceola Primus, 2, didn’t like the green eggs and ham, his parents, Mike Primus and Ciara Billie, were glad to support the reading program.
“It’s important for us to be involved and stress reading at an early age and support him throughout his school years,” Primus said.