In honor of the birthday of the author of the Dr. Seuss books, hundreds of elementary school students in eastern Iowa will be taking part in a “Cat-a-van” today. Cedar Rapids is among only three cities in the country chosen to host the event this year, according to Paula Monroe, an executive member of the National Education Association.

Monroe says, “Our goal always is to help students develop an early love of reading so as they grow up, they become lifelong learners because we know that children who read and are read to do better in school and in life.” She says the Cedar Rapids event is part of the N-E-A’s Read Across America program and is aimed at raising awareness about the critical importance of reading and literacy. Monroe says the famed feline, the Cat in the Hat, will be in Cedar Rapids to greet the kids.

“Every student from Cleveland, Harrison, Taylor and Wilson elementary schools that joins us will get a signature red-and-white Cat in the Hat hat,” Monroe says. “They’ll also get a special book and gift and each of those schools will receive a contribution to help enhance and build back up their libraries.” Each of the four schools will get a check for one-thousand dollars for their libraries. She says Cedar Rapids was singled out for the event.

“We understand after the floods last year that there was some real devastation to our schools and for our educators in Iowa and for our students,” Monroe says. “We wanted to come and show support for, in particular, the schools in Cedar Rapids and for our educators there.” Author and cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel died in 1991 and Tuesday would have been his 106th birthday. Monroe says Geisel created a legendary, timeless series of books.

“I remember Dr. Seuss and I remember sitting down with my three kids and reading the books,” Monroe says. “They just never get old. They’re something that children love and we have partnered with Dr. Seuss and 50 other education partners to make sure that this event continues to grow and to be an ongoing success.” The event takes place at 10 A.M. at Theatre Cedar Rapids. The tour will also make stops in Evansville, Indiana and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For more information about the program, visit: “www.nea.org/readacross“.