Day 331: Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss!

2 Mar

As many of you know, I have been a SMART reader for many years.  SMART stands for Start Making A Reader Today and is a literacy program begun in the early 1990’s in Portland, Oregon.  My husband, Emile, was a SMART volunteer for a year or so and then his company kept sending him out of town, so I began to fill in for him.  I felt that the kids that he was assigned to considered him a responsible adult, and if he was out of town and “did not show up” then how responsible could he be?  It was important to me that we show the kids that we were committed to them.

When we moved back to Ashland in 1995, we found that SMART had not yet come to the valley.  It was a few years before I could resume my volunteering with this program. What I love most about the program is helping kids enjoy reading. That is all that I am there for.  What is funny is that I don’t remember much about my early days of reading.  I do recall the books in first grade that went something like this: See Dick.  See Jane.  See Dick and Jane and their dog Spot.  At the time it was pretty heady stuff… but I am glad that books have changed a lot since then.

One of my favorite children’s authors is Dr. Seuss. I read all of his books to my kids over and over again and I thought that I was pretty good at reading them.  One day I was in the SMART room at Helman Elementary reading one of his more popular books, Green Eggs and Ham.  For those of you who were raised on Mars, this book tells the tale of a man who did not like Green Eggs and Ham.  On that day, I read the line “I do not like them, Sam-I-am”  to a little girl and the page showed the main character under water saying those words.

I read the words as I always have read them.  “I do not like them, Sam-I-am.” Then the little girl said to me, that is not how it goes.  I looked at her and thought, “excuse me?”  When I could speak I said, “Well how should I have said it?”  And then this little girl recited the words as if she was saying them under water!  Wow… I asked her how she knew how to do this and she said, “My Dad is an actor, and he told me that if you were underwater that is how you would sound.” And to think I had read that book a hundred times and never said it that way.  Amazing!  I’d learned a new way to read a Dr. Seuss book from a 6 year old girl!

Tonight I brought a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pie to that actor and his family.  How wonderful to have learned something new about reading at this late date!  It is a lesson I have not forgotten.  I continue to be a SMART reader today because I love helping kids learn to read and I feel it is one of the best things I have ever done.  And who knows what I may learn next?

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  Dr. Seuss

8 Responses to “Day 331: Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss!”

  1. shirley97520 March 3, 2012 at 10:31 AM #

    What a delightful story, Karen! And thanks for passing on that little girl’s reading tip. I’m sure a lot of us have our eyes, ears, and voices opened up by the guidance of children.

    • pieadaygiveaway March 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM #

      Thank you Shirley! I still can’t read as if I am underwater, but I loved that the little girl could!

  2. Rebecca Smith March 3, 2012 at 5:12 PM #

    Any chance you would share your recipe for that lovely chocolate peanut butter cheesecake? It looks divine!

    • pieadaygiveaway March 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM #

      I didn’t use a real recipe… I made an Oreo cookie crust (crushed cookies with a bit of melted butter pressed into a tin and baked for 10 minutes).
      For the filling, I had a bit of extra brownie batter (I am sure any recipe will work) and needed more batter to fill the crust and so I took 8 ounces of cream cheese and put it into the cuisinart with about 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of peanut butter and one egg and blended it until smooth. Then I “plopped” brownie batter in globs in the crust and then put the peanut butter batter next to it and swirled it together to create a marbled look. Then I topped it off with chopped candies… and baked until set. I hope this helps!

      • Rebecca Smith March 4, 2012 at 9:18 PM #

        Thanks so much, Karen! I will give this a try on a day when I plan to run a few hundred miles! It sounds absolutely wonderful.

  3. Korrin Kenerly March 4, 2012 at 10:46 AM #

    That child was me! I love that story so much and i was glad to share my ways with you! You made reading a delightful action for me! So thank you for the pie and thank you for reminding me about the story.
    -Korrin 🙂

    • pieadaygiveaway March 4, 2012 at 8:54 PM #

      Thank you for writing! I am so gl!”ad that you remember this. It was such an eye-opener for me… that a young child would tell me that I was not reading the book right! And to learn from you, well, that was a treat. But I must say, I still don’t sound very good “underwater.” But I still love reading to kids in SMART because I love to see them enjoying books… it is such an easy gift to give!
      Thanks again,

  4. Carrie Prechtel March 7, 2012 at 7:34 AM #

    Thanks for the trip down Dr. Suess lane! I remember reading those bubbly words, too.

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