The children hugged each of us and then hurried into their school, taking their seats to wait for the lessons to start. I paired up with my daughter’s friend Sammie, who is minoring in Spanish in college, to read the book first in Spanish and then in English.
They listened with intent, and enjoyed when I passed the pictures around and acted it out a bit for them.
Reading Cat in the Hat – Neguara video
The book is really quite long for the attention span of a small child, especially when it is being read twice. We decided to cut it short and move quickly on to the craft.
They loved making the hats, and with some assistance, we soon had a room full of Cats in Hats!
Video – Showing off Hats
It was a moving sight to see the whole school posing for a picture in their hats, and I was so tempted to leave the book behind as a donation, but my daughter had promised we had more kids to share Dr. Seuss with at Neuvo Paraiso. These boys go to school each morning and the return to the complex of buildings where they live, sleep and eat their meals. We had several afternoons to spend with them, playing games, making beautiful silk screened logo shirt thanks to the donations of an artist on our trip, and reading The Cat in the Hat. I was tickled to see 14, 15 and 16 year old boys working through the English text – sometimes laughing at the story and practicing their pronunciation in rhyme!
Video – Group Reading
Video of Christopher
Our very last day was spent with boys who live together at Casa Noble in Santa Lucia. They are mostly older boys – some attend classes at the university. Their English is pretty good but The Cat in the Hat still presented a challenge.
Video – Alex Reading
One of my lasting memories of the week will always be of the group of us – moms, kids, new Honduran family members – huddled on the couch taking turns reading together with the a English speakers reading Spanish and vice versa.
Video – Group Read featuring Jimmy
I ended up leaving the book at Casa Noble. I explained to them that the Dr. Seuss was commissioned by his publisher to write a primer using 225 “new reader” sight words. Ironically, I had come to Honduras with almost no words in my word bank. My teaching life was enriched forever by watching the story magically draw its own audience. That Cat in the Hat brings “Good fun that is funny” even when his name is El Gato Ensombrerato.