Seventh annual Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash set for Feb. 25

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Literacy fair to feature Family Time Entertainment’s ‘Father Goose’ at 11 a.m.

The Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash returns to Kathryn Winn Primary for the seventh annual community literacy fair.

The event will be held in the school gymnasium, cafeteria, and library/media center from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25. The school offers plenty of space for children and families to participate in various literacy-based activities. The event, which involves over 20 community groups, celebrates the birthday of beloved children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, who was born 108 years ago on March 2.

Carroll County’s Literacy, Education, and Reading Network will again be sponsoring the event for all children through fifth grade. The group includes a variety of community partners who will set up booths where children will be able to play games, participate in activities, read, and enjoy free birthday cake.

Carroll County Public Library will sponsor a Family Time Entertainment presentation of “Father Goose” at 11 a.m. in the Winn cafeteria.

“The performer puts his spin on the Mother Goose stories and has a show that is filled with music, magic, and fun,” said Leslie Sutherland, Children’s Librarian for the Carroll County Public Library, who arranged the presentation. “It should be a totally memorable event that the kids will love.”

In addition to engaging activities, each child who participates will also receive a free book, which is funded through a grant from the Carroll County Early Childhood Council.

“The Dr. Seuss event provides families with opportunities to engage in fun language activities with their children,” Carroll County Head Start Coordinator Pam McNeal, who helps to organize the event, said. “Language is the key to understanding.”

Lisa Stethen, director of the JCTC Carroll Adult Education and Family Literacy Program, said that organizing the event gets smoother every year, but that planners are always looking to improve the Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash each year to keep the activities fresh and interesting.

“We’re trying to stay focused on our purpose of encouraging parents to read to their children and showing everyone how much fun reading and education can be,” said Stethen, who has been a key organizer for the past seven years.

Families are encouraged to take their time and enjoy the activities, provide some feedback through a survey, and to continue emphasizing the importance of reading and education in general, Stethen said.

“When parents read to their children and engage in language activities, it helps build children’s vocabulary,” said Pam Williams, Carroll County School’ Elementary Instructional Supervisor, who helped initiate the event as Carroll County Head Start coordinator.  “Children that have a big vocabulary early in life can get more out of all learning opportunities, including reading.”

Robin Heusman, director of Carroll County’s Family Ties Resource Center, said that an average 450 children and adults have attended the last six years, and that hundreds of individuals representing schools, businesses, industries, government agencies, and nonprofit groups work together to make the event possible. The event is officially sponsored by the Carroll County Parks and Recreation Department, said Stethen, and is also affiliated with the National Education Association’s Read Across America Week. With the opening of the new Dr. Seuss movie, “The Lorax,” NEA events across the country are focusing on a “green” theme and the idea of protecting the environment. Using that theme, Pat Underwood, Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 131, will be reading “The Lorax” and giving out free tree saplings.

Students from Carroll County High School and the Carroll County Area Technology Center will do face paintings related to children’s books. Some students will also dress up as literary characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, Clifford the Dog, and the Cat in the Hat.  They will pose for photographs that can be taken home as a keepsake. Children are encouraged to dress as their favorite book character.

“The Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash provides active, hands-on, and fun learning experiences,” Williams said. “Rich experiences like these help develop language skills, the key to learning.”

Jeff Fremin is director of public relations for Carroll County Public Schools.