Green eggs and ham were the menu items of the day yesterday.

Maybe not literally, but they sure were on the minds of millions of youngsters throughout the country and many students here in our area.

Yesterday was a fun day for youngsters and participating adults alike. It was the National Education Association's Read Across America Day. And, being that it was the 106th birthday of beloved children's author Ted Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss (from where the green eggs and ham originate), The doctor's book was very much in evidence.

Groups such as the Tamaqua Lions, and everyone from business people, political figures and community leaders gave up much of their morning yesterday to attend schools and libraries in their area and read to the children. In many classrooms, special projects such as making Dr. Seuss hats, were the order of the day.

NEA's Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2.

In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA's Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials recognize the role reading plays in their communities with proclamations and floor statements. Athletes and actors issue reading challenges to young readers. And teachers and principals seem to be more than happy to dye their hair green or be duct-taped to a wall if it boosts their students' reading.

Read Across America Day was born in 1997, when a small reading task force at NEA came up with a big idea. "Let's create a day to celebrate reading," the group decided. "We hold pep rallies to get kids excited about football. Why don't we do something to get kids excited about reading? We'll call it 'NEA's Read Across America' and we'll celebrate it on Dr. Seuss's birthday." And so was born on March 2, 1998, the largest celebration of reading this country has ever seen.

Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.

So, to everyone who participated in yesterday's Read along, congratulations. That goes for the children, their teachers, and those who were "kids for a day" who volunteered their time and reading skills.

You were part of a national effort to instill in young people not only the value of reading, but the pure enjoyment that comes out of it.

Bob Urban

rurban@tnonline.com [1]