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Today is Read Across America Day!

Posted by Jen Robinson on March 2, 2010 at 6:00 AM in Authors and IllustratorsLiteracy News
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Seuss2.jpgEvery year, on March 2nd, the National Education Association (NEA) celebrates Dr. Seuss's Birthday as Read Across America Day. Here's a bit of background from the Read Across America website:

"NEA's Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. NEA's Read Across America also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers, and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year.

In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA's Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials recognize the role reading plays in their communities with proclamations and floor statements. Athletes and actors issue reading challenges to young readers. And teachers and principals seem to be more than happy to dye their hair green or be duct-taped to a wall if it boosts their students' reading."

So, what we have is an entire day dedicated to getting kids excited about reading. A day when people visit schools, and dress up like Dr. Seuss characters, and read books. PBS is a Read Across America partner. Here are a couple of PBS-affiliated resources (with thanks to DC PBS station WETA and Reading Rockets), to help you celebrate the day:

  • AdLit.org offers new activity ideas and resources for bringing Dr. Seuss into the secondary classroom, celebrating Read Across America with older readers, and making the day more meaningful with service. For example, the site lists Seuss-themed suggestions for youth service projects, such as a "Hats for Haiti" initiative.
  • At Reading Rockets, you can send an e-card to your favorite readers and get them excited about this special day of reading. There's also a whole Read Across America Day resources page at Reading Rockets, including a video interview with Dr. Seuss's widow, bookmarks, book suggestions, and more.
  • The NEA website offers tips for parents, contributed by both Reading Rockets and the PBS show Between the Lions. There are tips for reading aloud, tips for parents of preschoolers, and various book lists available.

Many other partners and supporters of Read Across America Day are listed here. You can also fan Read Across America Day on Facebook, and, if you like, make a pledge there on how you plan to celebrate Read Across America Day.

I do have one other idea for how you can celebrate Read Across America Day, if you are so inclined. Change.org is running a contest on Ideas for Change in America. The top 10 rated ideas (out of 60 finalists) will be presented to members of the Obama Administration and media at an event in Washington, DC. One of the finalists is the Everybody Wins! proposal to launch a national "Read To Kids" campaign. Personally, I think that a national campaign that encourages reading aloud with children is a wonderful idea. If you think so, too, you can click here to see more details, and vote. Voting for this round of the contest runs through Friday, March 11, at 5:00 pm Eastern (each individual can vote once).

But really, the ultimate way to celebrate Read Across America Day is to curl up in a comfortable corner, and read a book with a child. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss, and happy reading to all of you.

2 Comments

Terry writes...

Great post, Jen! I love that the ideas span beyond the "young" crowd and include all readers. Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss book?

Jen RobinsonAuthor Profile Page writes...

Thanks, Terry! I'm rather partial to "I Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street".

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