"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."

These words, penned by the beloved children's author Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, sum up the idea behind Hohenfels' Elementary School's "Seuss-Fair", a fun-filled celebration of reading for grades Kindergarten through 3rd presented in conjunction with Read across America.

Sponsored by the National Education Association, Read across America is celebrated each year on Dr. Seuss' birthday, March 2. Designed to ignite a child's desire to read, the national event encourages reading to children throughout the day. Even First Lady Michelle Obama got into the act by reading to a gathering of some 400 school children at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

At Hohenfels Elementary, though, simply reading wasn't quite enough.

"We read the book, and then we do a little activity," explained Lois Langholz, school librarian. She said by engaging the children in fun projects, they take more of an interest in what they just read.

"They remember the books more when they do these activities," she said.

Scattered throughout the library, fifteen activity centers bustled with laughing children, many clothed in wild and wacky costumes inspired by the humorous illustrations in Dr. Seuss' books.

Each activity coincided with a particular Dr. Seuss book while focusing on a different educational objective, such as "Fox in Sox math", or the rhyming center which stressed reading and vocabulary.

"For example, there's art and writing at the Lorax station," Langholz pointed out. "Not only do you get to create a truffula tree, but you have to write a paragraph on what would you make with a truffula tree."

"The Lorax" is an environmental awareness tale of the Once-ler who decimates a forest of truffula trees to craft the wares he sells while the Lorax tries to thwart his designs.

"This helps plant the seeds of curiosity," said Barbara Fitzgerald, volunteer library assistant. "It's just enough of a taste, so they want to learn more, they want to get the books, they want their parents to read them, and they want to read them themselves."

Though the Seuss-fair is only for K-3 grades, Langholz said other activities were going on throughout the school.

"The 6th grade had a debate about the Lorax, for instance," she said. "Who's right, the Lorax or the Once-ler'"

Besides teachers and parent volunteers, 4th- graders like Carrington Johnston also offered their assistance.

"The 4th-graders have gotten to participate in the fair for the past three years, so they feel like their missing out," said 4th-grade teacher Kathy Martin. "So they come in to help with the younger kids, and they still get to be a part of it."

Various community members dropped by the fair throughout the day to lend a hand. Command Sgt. Major Brenda J. Kadet spun blind-folded children and set them loose in a "pin the green eggs to the green ham" game, while Nan H. Barker, Director of the garrison library, stopped by to read aloud.

"I want kids to read, and I want them to love to read," Barker said. "Kids are being turned off by reading because they see it as a chore. But we're here to change all that. I want to share books with kids because they're passports."

"We're getting better every year," Langholz said. "And we're hoping this celebration continues to the parents, so that they'll be reading a little extra to their children after school today."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16