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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Reading Across America - from Go Dog Go to Grad School

Happy Poetry Friday, and Happy Read Across America Day!

Every year on or near March 2, the National Education Association sponsors a day to celebrate reading, marking the birthday of beloved children's author Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), aka Dr. Seuss. Today I'm joining a few other children's authors (including my kidlilt partner-in-crime Kami Kinard) for an event sponsored by our local United Way. It's geared for pre-schoolers through third graders, and I'm not sure exactly what to expect, but I hope to hear some of the college students reading Dr. Seuss books in other languages!

A favorite in our house was always The Foot Book, which begins:

Left foot left foot
Right foot right
Feet in the Morning
Feet at Night...

It's the fiftieth anniversary of The Foot Book this year!

Thoughts of Dr. Seuss this week reminded me of when our son, Seth, first learned to read. (Warning - some parental bragging ahead.) His older sister Morgan - our amazing daughter who teaches third grade in Georgia - was practically born knowing how to read and required frequent trips to libraries to quench her book thirst. Now she's passing that passion along to the next generation in a very direct way. She's a Poetry Friday Anthology practitioner in the classroom, too.

Seth came along and wanted to keep up, but he had to work a little more at the mechanics of it all.
I'll always remember the day a book "clicked" for him. It was Go, Dog, Go! by P. D. Eastman (1909-1986). Eastman wrote for Giesel's Beginner Book series at Random House, after serving under Giesel in the army in the 1940s. (Pretty sure I still have my own childhood copy of Are You My Mother?.)

A couple of decades ago, there was a commercial on the kids' TV channels for "The Phonics Game." (Maybe there still is?) Evidently Seth had paid attention to this commercial. One day when he was five, he ran up to me, clutching Go, Dog, Go!, and announced, "I can read! I don't need The Phonics Game!"

Thus began his journey with the written word. In recent years, I've had to consult a dictionary or two when reading some of his academic papers. He graduated at the tippy top of his college class last May and has been working in an urban ministry internship with homeless folks in Asheville since then. This fall, he'll enter Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, pursuing a Master of Divinity degree.

Just last week, Seth found out he's been offered a Robert W. Woodruff Fellowship in Theology and Ministry, named for the businessman and philanthropist who headed up Coca-Cola for many years. Full tuition and fees and a nice stipend for each year of the program. (Yep, we're pretty proud.) Seth turns 23 in about three weeks - what a wonderful birthday present.

Go, Seth, Go!

(Click here for more on Read Across America Day.)

Now, grab your gondola and paddle over to Italy, where the ever-bella Renée is rounding up for us at No Water River this week.  Read More 
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