NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – This week, students all over the country are celebrating Read Across America Week.

The National Education Association started Read Across America in 1998 to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s impact on reading across the world.

Students celebrate reading this week as a tribute to Dr. Seuss during the anniversary of his birthday, which is March 2.

Daily activities are planned like guest readers and dressing up as your favorite book character. Many schools also celebrate with a character parade.

The goal of these events is to get children and teens reading, which helps them with language skills and to excel in in other subjects in school.

Allyson Long is the principal at Belvedere Elementary. She said students are still playing catch up from learning loss because of the pandemic.

“We definitely saw a dip the first year with the school report cards that came out last year. But we are very excited that our map score from this year show that we are jumping back,” she said. “Are we all the way back to where we were before school closure? No. But we have definitely at least cut that gap in half.”

Education is a partnership between schools and parents. Long said there is one big thing parents can do at home to help their kids catch up.

“One of the biggest things is truly reading at home. Reading one book a night equals 365 books a year. And that gives those students a huge advantage. And for a lot of our students, we want them to see the purpose behind learning how to read, which is why you do read aloud, so they can see, oh it tells a story and I want to hear more. And oh, now I have the ability to read that myself,” Long explained.

A couple of fun fact about Dr. Seuss–“Green Eggs and Ham” was written when a friend bet him he couldn’t write a book using just 50 words.

And his first book “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street” was rejected 27 times before it was finally published.

Photojournalist: Will Baker.