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Congressman Brings Dr. Seuss' Words to Life

Brooksfield School in McLean celebrates Dr. Seuss's birthday with a week of activities.

The 3- through 6-year-olds already knew Sam would not eat them in a box or with a fox, but last Monday U.S. Rep. James Moran (D-8th) also warned the children they should not, would not eat green eggs and ham, or anything green for that matter, when living in a college apartment.

While reading Dr. Seuss at the Brooksfield School Monday, Moran captured the giggles of not only preschoolers but also adults.

One student told Moran that sometimes it was OK to eat green eggs, like at the special breakfast prepared for the children, because the food was made with dye.

Moran's reading of Dr. Seuss and the breakfast were only a part of Literary Arts Week. This is the first year of the program during National Literacy Week, which was inspired by Read Across America.

In honor of his 100th birthday, the school decided to focus on Dr. Seuss.

Gauging by the children's knowledge of the author, so far the program has been a success.

In fact, the students of Sarah Krawchuk's class knew Dr. Seuss so well that the reading of "Green Eggs and Ham" quickly turned into a game of the class finishing Moran's sentences.

"I do not like them, Sam I am," the children said in unison.

Moran smiled and asked if the class had heard the story before. One student informed him they had read it even on their own.

For the second reading to Hilary Benson and Cristin Sanders' class, Moran decided to switch to "The Cat in the Hat," an appropriate choice, since Brooksfield parent Don Benoit dressed as the character, whiskers and all.

"[Dr. Seuss teaches children] school can be fun," Benoit said. "'The Cat in the Hat' was created in the late ‘50s because reading books was not that interesting. ... The silly and fun story and illustrations make kids think beyond words on the page and capture imaginations."

Benoit's comment was clearly demonstrated by the children's wide eyes and laughter as Moran read about the classic character.

As the Upper-School first-through-third-grade class waited for Moran to finish with the younger audience, teacher Thea Bartha asked the students why they thought Theodor Geisel used Dr. Seuss as his nom de plume. Annalise Ajmani said that her grandmother told her “seuss” meant “sweet” in German, and maybe that was the reason. Julia DiPietro suggested “Theodor Geisel” was too hard to remember, and “Dr. Seuss” sounded like a better fit for the imaginative, strange characters he created. Alexander Samaha said that Seuss was Geisel's middle name; he was right.

When Moran arrived, teacher Wendie Marsh asked if he would read "Oh, The Places You'll Go," since the congressman had ascended to such high places.

While reading, Moran explained to the children that sometimes people are asked to do things that might not be the right plan for them and end up competing against themselves.

"And playing against yourself is no fun at all," Ajmani said, demonstrating the insight of older students.

The reading finished with Moran accepting a Brooksfield T-shirt and signing the book.

Wednesday Dr. Seuss is the topic of this month's assembly, with one class singing "Green Eggs and Ham" and another presenting a time line and biography of the author.

Literary Arts Week continues Thursday, with Interact Story Theatre performing interpretations of multicultural stories, and concludes Friday with birthday cake, balloons and goody-bags.

Wednesday through Friday, Brooksfield will also hold a book drive as part of the Inova Fairfax Pediatric Center program Reach Out and Read.