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One week, two week, Dr Seuss Week

By Natalie LeDoux
On March 1, 2012

All over campuses far and wide, learners and teachers stand side by side. They put colors and sizes and ages aside, to come celebrate Seuss-style nationwide.

Dr. Seuss Week, which began Monday, is dedicated to the inspirational and imaginative mind of Theodore Seuss Geisel. To commemorate his birthday, a movie adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book "The Lorax" premiers in theatres today at noon.

"Beneath the surface of his books is a message advocating individuality, to not be a conformist and narrow-minded. With Dr. Seuss week, we focus on the red and white hat, but there are important things going on behind that," said Cathy Dice, English instructor at The University of Memphis.

According to Dice, Seuss was able to take words that were phonetically related and make interesting characters that are bold and lively, as opposed to the static and boring model of typical children's books.

"He really changed the way that a lot of educators look at children's books. Reading education was largely based on the look-say method like the Dick and Jane books, just really boring stuff that isn't really effective in teaching children. Then The Cat in the Hat came along, and it brought character and dialogue into teaching children how to read," Dice said.

U of M professors Lorinda Cohoon and Dice teach Children's Literature. The course can be taken to fulfill a general education election and is a requirement for some majors.

Dice said she takes in around 35 students for each class, four or five English majors, five or six education majors and everyone else is there for their electives. It appeals to a wide range of majors, Dice said.

"The stories carried more than just teaching children to read. They had background messages. In children's lit, we talked about books like "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Horton Hears a Who!" We discussed the political cartoons Geisel did as well as his story books," said Mawusi Lester, junior English major at The U of M.

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