March 2 is The National Education Association (NEA)'s 18th annual Read Across America Day.
This day not only honors the joy and significance of reading, but it is also the birthday of highly-adored author Dr. Seuss.
Additionally, NEA Secretary Treasurer Princess Moss will lead the association's Cat-a-Van Reading Tour, an award-winning event that delivers reading inspiration from Dr. Seuss and his legacy.
The 3,200-mile trek spans over a week, and includes stops in cities throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and more.
Ending at The Louisiana Children's Museum in New Orleans on Friday, March 6, over 9,000 "reading" hats, books and other goodies are delivered; more than $100,000 will be issued throughout the tour and events.
The tour also recognizes the start of Dr. Seuss’ “Kid, You’ll Move Mountains,” the nationwide search for kids ages 5 to 18 who exceed in STEAM -- aka, the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
The NEA and Dr. Seuss Enterprises have joined forces to enthusiastically distinguish the 25th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s last book, "Oh, the Places You’ll Go!"
The contest honors children nationwide who are living proof of the book's inspiring message.
"Oh, the Places You'll Go!" isn't just another goofy Dr. Seuss story for children.
Since the story centers on life and its accompanying challenges, it is an appropriate book for individuals of any age group who are entering a life transition.
Whether it's graduating the sixth grade and approaching the confusing and incredibly awkward middle school years, or saying goodbye to endless keg parties and and facing the reality of a 9-to-5 job, Dr. Seuss just gets it.
The book is supported with enjoyable illustrations and rhymes, and reminds us we all have the ability to get to where we want to be; it just takes willpower and hard work.
Dr. Seuss reiterates the important notion that waiting around for something good to happen is the worst thing we can do.
One of the most noteworthy lines from "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" is, "Will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed."
Children, teens and adults can all benefit from this line.
We all fear failure; when we invest so much of our time and effort into something, there's nothing worse than being told we're not good enough. Unfortunately, sometimes, it happens.
However, all we can do is believe in ourselves, and we're halfway there.
While the classic book successfully encourages readers to get out there and make things happen, it still recognizes the realistic possibility things won't always go as planned, and that's an important reminder, as well.
Furthermore, besides the obvious benefit of encouraging children to further their education and literacy skills, I believe "Read Across America Day" also promotes the simplicity of sitting down and reading a good book.
As members of Generation-Y, we grew up participating in simple, carefree activities, such as playing house, hide-and-go seek and tag.
I personally remember creating make-believe "lesson plans" and forcing my little sister to be my student, as I mirrored the lessons I learned in my classes.
We learned to use both our resources and our imaginations to involve ourselves in activities that were both educational and enjoyable.
I can't be the only one who notices children nowadays consumed with their iPads at restaurants.
Of course, parents approve of this behavior because at least their children aren't being nuisances or making a scene in a public area.
Sure, the games they play may serve to keep the children entertained for a brief period, but are they engaging their minds?
When did this become acceptable behavior, anyway?
While the advancement of technology has brought a multitude of benefits in terms of convenience and speed, it has also taken away the likeliness of children (and even adults) just enjoying the act of getting lost in a great book.
While we can't reverse time and control the new generation of children who have already succumbed to the appeal of technology, we can fix our own behaviors.
So, among the wave of new gadgets and availability of information delivered from a variety of angles, it's critical not to forget to appreciate the power of words (and not only the words from your Twitter feed).
In honor of both the birthday of Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day, put down your smartphone and crack open that book you've been meaning to get to.
Escape the real world for a little, and immerse yourself in a great story. Let yourself release your inner child -- Dr. Seuss would be proud.