Saturday, March 02, 2002

Mason students delve into Seuss

Celebration ends two-month study

By Sarah Buehrle
Enquirer Contributor

        MASON — “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish” is much more than a simple rhyme — it's a tool for teaching children social issues and encouraging them to read.

        That was among the lessons Friday in the Mason Intermediate School Library during a celebration of the birthday of the late Theodor Seuss Geisel, author of the Dr. Seuss books.

        Thing One and Thing Two scampered around as the Cat in the Hat read Dr. Seuss books to Mason fifth-graders.

        The Cat, Mason gifted learning specialist Vicki Kohls , said that the books are not only for beginning readers, but promote empathy and focus on children's individual attributes.

        “He was very opinionated,” she said. “The trick was to get into the text to see what he was trying to convey to the readers”

        Ms. Kohls, with the help of teachers Stacy Perkins and Kaye Geiger, dressed as Thing One and Thing Two, read Hooray for Diffendoofer Day to the students. She explored the themes of always doing one's best and not fearing test-taking, with the students facing the national Terra Nova achievement tests next week.

        Her fifth-grade gifted students, 120 of Mason's 600 fifth-graders, spent two months studying Dr. Seuss' books and poetry. They wrote their own Seuss-ian books and explored his messages of equality, anti-greed and an ti-war.

        “He's got sort of a wacky way of writing,” Molly Marotta, 11, said. “You can learn a lot. Like The Butter Battle Book, it's about the Cold War and how he thinks it's a bad idea.”

        “It can make you laugh and want to know what happens next,” Tommy Wohlwender, 11, said. “It teaches you to do what you believe in, like in Horton Hears a Who, he had to protect the little people.”

        The gifted program will focus next on mystery books and the powers of observation. Friday also marked the National Education Association's Read Across America initiative.

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