February 26, 1999

Worms and Green Jell-O Inspire Children To Read

March 2nd is `Read Across America' Day

The earthworms will crawl through flour before they are stir-fried in sesame oil. Forty boxes of green jell-o will be emptied into a bathtub full of hot water. Elementary students across the nation are excitedly reading book after book to ensure that their respective school principals will have the meal and the bath of a lifetime.

Why are principals pledging to eat worms and bathe in green jell-o on March 2? To celebrate what would have been the 95th birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss, a.k.a. Theodor Geisel. If their students keep their collective pledge to read more than 10,000 books or clock more than 10,000 hours of reading time by March 2, the principals will honor their end of the bargain.

NEA President Bob Chase, Phillip McGloin (child) and the Cat in the Hat.

It's all part of a massive effort to call attention to the importance of being a good reader. Across the country, March 2 has once again been declared Read Across America day. Created by the National Association (NEA) last march, Read Across America succeeded beyond NEA's dreams as a nationwide celebration of reading on the birthday of the late Theodor Geisel, known to the world as Dr. Seuss.

"The more children read, the better they do in school," says NEA president Bob Chase. "So on March 2, we're calling for every child in every school in every community to read with a caring adult."

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