AMES–All across America on Monday, March 2, people young and old donned tall red-and-white striped hats, spiky blue wigs, or shirts that put stars on their bellies. They read aloud books written in rhymes, about fantastical creatures whose outlandish antics couched messages dealing with touchy social issues. Monday was the birthday of iconic children’s author and illustrator Dr. Seuss—a date appropriated by the National Education Association for National Read Across America Day.  The annual event is part of Read Across America, an initiative on reading that was created to “help create a nation of readers,” NEA’s website says .

Kindergarten students at Mitchell Elementary School didn’t need any hoopla to get excited about reading, however, teacher Charlyn Mason said.