On the evening of February 24, 2017, Matt Markling participated in “Family Reading Night,” an annual event sponsored by the Grant Elementary School PTA in Lakewood.
This year, Matt joined fellow parents and teachers to read aloud to nearly 100 students and their families. Each reader was asked to select a book that would communicate a message of diversity, acceptance, compassion for others, and respecting our differences. Matt selected The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss.
“Family Reading Night is one of my favorite school events,” said Matt. “Reading aloud to children stimulates their imagination, expands their understanding of the world, helps develop language and listening skills, and prepares children to understand the written word.”
“My wife Katie and I have always read aloud to our boys, and now our oldest son has joined us in reading aloud to his brothers,” says Matt. “Reading aloud together enriches family ties and provides a time for children to express themselves, as well as an opportunity for parents to show their willingness to listen to their children.”
Matt and Katie’s sons – or “Things 1, 2, and 3” as they are often called – have virtually all of the Dr. Seuss books memorized, word for word.
“When the Grant PTA shared this year’s theme with me, I knew that The Sneetches would be the perfect Dr. Seuss book to discuss issues of prejudice and discrimination with elementary school children,” says Matt. “The Sneetches emphasizes that we should be accepting of everyone’s internal and external diversities, and always be compassionate and respectful toward one another regardless of our differences.”
By the way, that’s Thing 2 drawing Star-Bellied and Plain-Bellied Sneetches on the whiteboard as Matt reads aloud to families gathered on the floor!