Be Awesome—Be a Book Nut
Today, March 2, 2016, marks the seventeenth anniversary of Read Across America day, a day to celebrate the joy of reading and the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss knew how to make reading fun; his whimsical rhymes have entertained generations of kids. And helping kids love to read is so important.
Dr. Seuss really knew what he was talking about when he said, “The more that you read. The more things you will know. The more that you learn. The more places you will go.”
As a young boy I was a book nut. I loved to read. For me, it all started with Busytown books by Richard Scarry. You may have seen them, illustrated books of cats, dogs, rabbits and other creatures, all busy at work–driving trucks, flying planes, building towns and working on farms. I’d open one of these books and, Dr. Seuss would say, “Think and wonder, wonder and think,” imagining how it would feel to be at the places on those pages.
Even as an adult, there are few things that excite me more than reading. I learned to love reading because my parents and my teachers encouraged me to read, to explore and to learn. Today, you’ll see teachers, community members and parents all over Ukiah encouraging students to read as part of Read Across America day.
They are following Dr. Seuss’s advice to teach each kid to “Be awesome! [To] be a book nut!” They are taking time to share their love of reading with our kids—donning their reading hats (the red and white striped stovepipe hats of the Cat in the Hat) and introducing their love of reading to a new generation of book nuts.
Please consider joining in. Did you know that children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school, and children who read frequently develop stronger reading skills later in life?
I have heard some say that they can’t teach the love of reading when competing against video games and smart phones. But even Dr. Seuss would question that, “Will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.”
Judy Newman the president of Scholastic Book Club says that while most us think once children reach eight years old they turn their attention to video games, smart phones and a million other activities because reading isn’t cool. But the reality is that when kids turn eight most parents stop reading to them. Either they think children will prefer to read on their own, or that encouraging them to read on their own will help them develop better reading skills.
Instead Newman says we need to keep reading and encouraging reading–to make reading cool, too! It’s easier than you think (even eight-year-olds like reading with their parents), and older kids can find reading filled with adventure. The secret is to find things that capture a child’s imagination, that allow them to grow and learn while exploring topics they find interesting – and for US to be their role models in the importance (and fun) of reading.
Today, I can’t think of a better thing to do than to be a role model and to read to a child. As Dr Seuss said, “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So, get on your way… Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
If you’d like more information about reading and a suggested book list organized by grade level, we have several resources on our website under the Community Support tab – just click Ukiah Reads for more information.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.
By: Chris Dewey - Chief of Police