Monday, March 1, 2010

Let's Read Across America!

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Every year in the United States, children celebrate Read Across America Day on March 2, the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel. (You may know him better as Dr. Seuss.) The National Education Association (NEA) has been celebrating this day since 1998 and uses it as an opportunity to emphasize the value, importance, and fun of reading to children and young adults.

Students and teachers all across the country take this day to demonstrate what reading means to them. First Lady Michele Obama is meeting with a group of children on Tuesday to celebrate reading and Dr. Seuss at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

The NEA encourages students and families everywhere to take part in the celebration in as many creative ways as they can imagine. They even provide a fill-in-the-blanks invitation http://www.nea.org/grants/13373.htm. It may be short notice to throw a party, but be sure to celebrate this important day by carving out a specific time to read with your child tomorrow. Make it even more special than the reading time you already share. Tomorrow we’ll post a recipe for ham and eggs. If you have time, grab some food coloring and make it green eggs and ham then read the Dr. Seuss book together as a family. (It’s the 50th anniversary of its publication.) Take turns reading each page out loud. See who can read it the fastest. See who can memorize it. Write your own rhymes. Whatever you do, be sure to celebrate.

As part of our commitment to Read Across America, we have been donating books to various organizations in the Baltimore area including The Ronald McDonald House of Baltimore, Baltimore Public Schools, and to the US Military for dispersal to families. We recognize the power that books in the home have on a child’s success.

In Jeff McQuillan’s book The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions 1998) he explains that, “The only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home. An analysis of a national data set of nearly 100,000 United States school children found that access to printed materials--and not poverty--is the "critical variable affecting reading acquisition."

So stop what you’re doing, take a few minutes, and plan to read to a child as a toast and happy birthday to everyone’s friend, Dr. Seuss. Let the reading begin!

1 comment:

Kevin Hart, NEA said...

Thanks for the mention of NEA’s Read Across America and for your appreciation of the importance of reading to children. NEA’s Vice President Lily Eskelsen recently wrote a very inspirational blog post that really drives home the point.

I hope you get the chance to check it out: http://lilysblackboard.org/

Thanks again,
Kevin Hart, NEA