Today is Read Across America! It was established by the National Education Association (NEA) as an “annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading.” The celebration occurs each year on or around the birthday of Theodor Geisel—better known as Dr. Seuss—born on March 2, 1904.
The program highlights the importance of literacy in childhood development and reminds adults to encourage children to read every day. Children who are introduced to books and reading at an early age are more likely to continue reading throughout their lives. Research has shown that children who read often are better readers and do better in school. So, grab a book!
The NEA and state teachers’ associations offer a plethora of ideas for celebrating. Here are just a few things that you can do with a child today!
Read! Pick out a book—or two, or three, or more—and sit with a child and read. Read the book to the child, have him or her read it to you, or take turns reading. Don’t forget to examine the illustrations and use different voices, expressions, and intonations to help your child understand and engage in the story.
Create! Make some bookmarks or bookplates for your favorite books. There are many online resources with printables to color and cut, or you can start from scratch and make your own with plain paper, stickers, ribbons, and more.
Cook! If you have a little chef around, then use the kitchen to get him or her even more excited about stories. How do green eggs and ham really taste? Whip up some “Cat in the Hat” cupcakes.
Play! Act out a favorite story with your drama queen or king. To make it even more fun, take out some costumes or raid the closets. Simple hats, ties, scarves, and shoes can really help you to “become” the characters. Of course, tiaras and jewels, if you have them, add some sparkle.
Write! Read or think about a favorite story and help your reader write a new ending or a book review. If you have an enthusiastic writer, have him or her write a modern version of a classic story or write a completely original story.
Talk! Make sure to discuss books with the other readers in your home, especially teenagers. Talk about the parts of the story, like the characters, setting, conflict, climax, resolution, message, etc. Discuss what you liked or didn’t like about a book. Talk about the differences between a movie and the original book from which it was created. Open dialogue about different genres, book censorship, or storyline trends.
Below are links to even more online ideas and resources to help you celebrate today. Happy reading!