Read Across America…With Your Pets!

02/09/2016, By Valley of the Sun United Way

We want a pet.
We want a pet.
What kind of pet
should we get?

Those are a few lines from the previously never-before-seen picture book by Dr. Seuss, What Pet Should I Get?, this year’s featured book for Read Across America.

Read Across America is an annual event created by the NEA that coincides with Seuss’s birthday, March 2. The program provides children the resources and motivation to keep on reading every day throughout the year.

This year United Way celebrates this event the entire week of Feb. 29-March 4, with volunteers reading to children at 20 Valley elementary schools. You can make a lasting difference in the life of a child. 

Committed to inspiring the lifelong love of literacy and learning that research shows is so critical to a student’s success, Valley of the Sun United Way has celebrated Read Across since 2009. Hundreds of volunteers have stepped up, and thousands of books have been distributed through our bonus book program with Scholastic, Inc.

Blue Cross Blue Shield AZ Team Builds Home Libraries 

Kids who particpate in Read Across America Week from Feb. 29- Mar. 4, will even get to take some books home thanks to these volunteers!


For parents, there are no limits to the way you can celebrate Read Across America with your young readers. Here are just a few ideas from the NEA:


Read What Pet Should I Get aloud to, or with, a child

The book includes fascinating publisher’s notes that tell the story of how the book was found and published, as well as Dr. Seuss’s history as a pet owner. (His first was a stuffed dog he named Theophrastus, soon followed by, Rex, a real live Boston bulldog.)

Consider toy animals as potential reading buddies

Taking turns reading aloud to a plush Cat in the Hat or Horton the Elephant would make Dr. Seuss’s birthday extra special. And since it’s a birthday celebration, have readers make hats for themselves and their stuffed animal reading buddies!

Imagine a new kind of pet

This includes its size, shape, attributes, personality, behavior, and appetites, and create a how-to guide for caring for this special pet. Let their imaginations soar! Have them create a detailed drawing of their pet as the cover for their how-to guide, which should include all the details on the special care and specific needs of their pet.

Create culinary delights for unusual pets in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

The Yink likes to drink pink ink, but what do the Zans, the Zeep, the Gack, the Ying, Clark, the blue-haired pet, or the poor wet pet like to eat and drink? Have your student pick a pet from the book and then concoct a fantastic new food that is both delicious to the pet and good for it too. Ingredients in their recipes could be real foods unusually combined or fantastic foods forged in their imaginations. Ask your student to list the ingredients and write instructions for making the recipe.

Blend until smooth and frothy. Serve in a glass with a straw. Start drinking and winking!

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