John Muir Elementary students look through free books during the school’s Family Literacy Night that celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Courtesy of John Muir Elementary School

John Muir Elementary students look through free books during the school’s Family Literacy Night that celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Courtesy of John Muir Elementary School

Oh, the places they’ll go

John Muir students celebrate literacy as teachers prepare them for the future.

From the Cat in the Hat to Sam-I-Am, Dr. Seuss imagined iconic characters and whimsical tongue twisters that ignited the imaginations of millions across multiple generations.

Growing readers from John Muir Elementary celebrated the nonsensical poet and his beloved characters last week during Family Literacy Night. The celebration featured numerous literacy activities, a book fair, book giveaway, free pizza and a cupcake collage to honor Seuss on the eve of his birthday.

“Family Literacy Night is our opportunity to celebrate with families the importance of being strong readers, writers and thinkers,” principal Jeff DeGallier said. “We appreciate the work and effort our students make every day to develop these critical skills.”

Born Theodor Seuss Geisel, Seuss published his first children’s book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” in 1937 and wrote dozens more before publishing “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” — the final Dr. Seuss book published before his death in 1991.

While many of his books take place in imaginary worlds, Seuss often embedded real-life lessons for young children to learn. The lessons ranged from a simple encouragement to try new things in “Green Eggs and Ham,” to an anti-discrimination mantra in “Horton Hears a Who.”

Family Literacy Night at John Muir is an annual event that consistently falls near Seuss’s birthday. While Seuss is the major theme every year, each event celebrates a particular book that inspires multiple arts and craft activities and literacy games that students can take home.

This year’s theme was “Go, Dog Go!” by P.D. Eastman, a protégé and colleague of Seuss. Buzz Anderson, husband of John Muir secretary Gail Anderson, designed a 1,000 cupcake art collage that treated more than 300 families that attended the Family Literacy Night.

“Literacy skills are so important for students and often times families don’t know how to help at home,” said Whitney Blackstone, an intervention teacher at John Muir. “The simplest games can be super fun and can be used at home.”

She works with kids from kindergarten to fifth grade in math and reading through a district program called Safety Net, which aims to assist students who fall short of district academic standards.

“Our job here is to lay that foundation and make sure that they’re ready for all their other schooling,” Blackstone said. “Reading is part of every single job.”

John Muir students also participated in a two-week “Read-a-thon,” which featured multiple guest readers and accumulated nearly 1,166 hours of total reading time. Guest readers included Lake Washington School District superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce, Kingsgate librarian Jennifer Duffy, Redmond police officer Corey Stevens and veterinarian Dr. Mary Beth Cullen of Evergreen Veterinary Hospital in Kirkland.

Pierce concluded the Read-a-thon by reading “Let the Children March” to John Muir fifth graders, three hours before Family Literacy Night. Monica Clark-Robinson authored the book, which focuses on the Civil Rights movement from the perspective of several children.

Afterwards, the fifth graders asked Pierce various questions about her favorite Dr. Seuss book and her career.

“I still have Dr. Seuss books that I had when I was a kid…you can’t go wrong with ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’” Pierce said. “This is the fun part of my job when I get to do things like this…It’s a tough and rewarding job (but) my favorite thing about my job is the students.”

More in Life

Courtesy photo
Entering the winter real estate market – what to expect

Over the last five months, there has been more inventory than in previous years previously.

Kirkland road closures set for half marathon on Saturday

The event will benefit Cascade Challenge, a nonprofit dedicated to providing leadership and outdoor adventure opportunities to youth ages 14-20.

Greg McClellan (center) talks with friends at the release party for his 48 hour album, “Listen2Daze,” at Vortex Music & Movies in Kirkland. Madison Miller/staff photo.
Kirkland man releases 48-hour album

McClellan released his 48-hour album, “Listen2Daze,” at Vortex Music & Movies.

Volunteers help Kirkland commemorate Arbor Day

The city hosted a celebration and forest restoration event on Oct. 20.

The Locke family gathered to officially name the pavilion in honor of Kirkland’s first City Manager, Al Locke. Photo Courtesy of the City of Kirkland.
Marina Park Pavilion named after Kirkland’s first city manager

Community members attend ceremony in honor of former city manager, Al Locke, on Oct. 13.

Viva Volunteers! Fair on tap Oct. 20

Attendees will learn about opportunities to make a difference in their community.

Kirkland hosts second City Hall for All

The event focused on diversity, inclusion and city issues.

The panel included Dr. Joseph Castleberry, Megan Nakanishi, Brian Gawthrop, Marianna Beetham, Sally Otten and Walt Yeager. Photo courtesy of Kirkland Chamber of Commerce.
Town Hall hosts symposium to discuss Kirkland Now and Then

Kirkland Chamber hosts symposium on Sept. 25.

For a healthy dessert, try baked apples. Courtesy photo
Fall into wellness

Simple tips for staying healthy this season.

A photo of Kirkland Police’s customer service desk that was used to initially promote the animal services program. Photo courtesy of the city of Kirkland
Kirkland Animal Services goes door-to-door for pet license renewals

Kirkland Animal Services took over city-wide licensing in January and is asking locals to renew.