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Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. (February 26, 2024): “I don’t want them here or there.” These lines by Dr. Seuss have entertained a generation of children. In this photo by Lance Corporal Kayla LeClaire, Marine Colonel  Michael L. Brooks reads to second grade students to celebrate Read Across America Day, an annual event to celebrate Dr. Suess’ birthday. Launched in 1998 by the National Education Association, Read Across America focuses on motivating children and teens to read “anywhere they are” through civic events, school partnerships, and by providing reading resources.

Getting the children of America’s armed forces interested in reading is pretty easy as they perform at levels that are the envy of public schools. With roughly 66,000 students, military kids outscored every U.S. jurisdiction in math and reading last year on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, considered the gold standard for comparing school districts. Military schools also had the highest outcomes for Black and Hispanic students whose eighth grade reading scores outpaced the national average for White students. Even low performing military students have improved their scores in fourth grade math and eighth grade reading. Education experts attribute these gains in part to the tight knit nature of military communities.

Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Suess) published more than sixty children’s books and sold over six hundred million copies translated into more than twenty languages. He died in 1991 at 87 years old but his rhyming parables will live on in the imagination of children around the world.