PARKERSBURG — It was all about books, both big and small, for a group of young students who may not have been very tall. It was a love of reading organizers hoped to sow so the kids would always learn and grow.
The Parkersburg Woman’s Club held a “Dr. Seuss Birthday Party” for around 20 children Sunday at their Clubhouse at 323 Ninth St. in Parkersburg.
Author Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel, known the world over as Dr. Seuss, was born March 2, 1904, and is known for many books that have appealed to children for years, including “The Cat In the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “Horton Hears a Who,” “The Lorax,” “Yertle the Turtle” and many others.
The Woman’s Club has an education committee that focuses on reading with eight little borrowing libraries in the area that are regularly used. They do a Snugglebug Reading program where they give out books, blankets and small flashlights and encourage second-grade kids to read at night, under their covers, before going to sleep.
The club wanted to do something to commemorate Dr. Seuss’ birthday as well as getting kids excited about reading.
“We are celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday and we have invited second graders from Neale School to celebrate with us,” said Jane Hardman of the education committee who helped organize the event.
The kids signed a pledge saying they like to read and promise to tell their friends about the joys of reading.
They also enjoyed a snack of green eggs and ham as well as cupcakes. Emerson School second-grade teacher Adam Shaffer portrayed the Cat in the Hat and read “The Cat In the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” to the kids.
Many of the members of the Parkersburg Woman’s Club are retired teachers and believe an early love of reading can benefit young people throughout their academic career and throughout their lives.
“We want to make the community better and their future better,” said President Judy Parrish. “Once they start reading they will read for most of their lifetime.
“The Parkersburg Woman’s Club is constantly trying to reach the community in many different ways. This is one we hadn’t tried before to reach the children.”
The different club members said the Dr. Seuss stories appeal to children because they like the phonics and the sound repetition.
Many of the books have rhyming passages which make it easier for the kids to remember them, they said, adding the illustrations are whimsical and help bring the stories to life for young people.
The books cover many reading levels and are enjoyed by many, the club members said, adding the themes of these books resonate with children. No matter which one they pick up the kids seem to identify with it, they added.
Paige Burner, a student teacher at Neale, said they are focusing on the stories of Dr. Seuss all week with a lot of activities revolving around the stories as well as looking at Dr. Seuss himself. She encouraged many of her students to attend the event Sunday.
“A lot of Dr. Seuss reading this week,” she said.
Shaffer said he always tries to be involved when it comes to helping children.
One of the members of the Woman’s Club was a former teacher of his. The club has come to his class with different activities for his students. He wanted to return the favor.
“I wanted a chance to give back to the community and do some things the kids will enjoy,” Shaffer said. “I love ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and all Dr. Seuss things.
“Anytime I can dress up and have fun, I take advantage.”
The stories of Dr. Seuss are engaging and fun for children with silly characters and large illustrations.
“It is a fun way to get kids involved,” Shaffer said.
Parent Jennifer Coleman, of Vienna, brought her son Gavin to the event on Sunday.
“I think is is great,” she said. “The kids are having a blast and encouraging them to read.”
Gavin reads a lot of Dr. Seuss, working on the tongue-twisters and getting better at them, Coleman said.
The Parkersburg Woman’s Club is hoping to make the Dr. Seuss Birthday Party an annual event.
“We are really excited about it,” Parrish said. “Next year we hope it grows and we have twice as many children.”