What better day to celebrate Read Across America Day than on the March 2nd birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss? It’s the perfect kickoff to March’s National March into Literacy Month, both of which are dedicated to the promotion of reading and literacy.
Read Across America Day was first introduced by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998. The NEA’s goal for the celebration is to motivate kids to become lifelong readers, thereby improving student performance. Every year, schools, public libraries and other organizations celebrate this day by holding reading events for kids.
Ways parents can promote reading
There are many ways parents can promote a love of reading and encourage their kids to read not only during this celebration, but year-round.
- Read to kids. Begin reading to your child very early. The NEA suggests infancy is an excellent time to start. As your child grows, encourage their participation in reading the story with or to you. Although your child may not be ready to read, kids often memorize some of their favorite books or pages. Making your child an active participant will help develop their love for reading.
- Visit the library. Think of the library as a big free educational toy store. Help your child choose some books, but also encourage him or her to select some on their own. Your child can also take home audiobooks, video games, videos and music CDs.
- Help your child build a collection. One thing common among reading lovers is how much they enjoy having their own book collection. Help your children grow a personal library of their favorite series, author or genre. Then give them a special shelf to store and display the collection.
- Play word games. Look for board, computer or phone games that help kids develop their reading and spelling skills and vocabulary.
- Sign up for Goodreads. Through this Android and iOS app, kids can track both the books they’ve read and those they want to read. They can also check out what their friends are reading.
- Subscribe your child to a magazine. There’s a host of kids’ magazines on the market and something for every age group. It will give your child something to look forward to each month and build enthusiasm for reading.
- Read in front of your kids. Show kids that reading isn’t just a school requirement, but rather a lifelong activity. Let them see you reading both to learn and for pleasure.
- Form a kids’ book club. If your child is interested in it, this is a great way to build excitement for reading. You’ll want to find kids who are all at about the same reading level. You’ll need to decide where to hold the weekly or monthly meetings, which could be at your house, or perhaps your school or public library will provide you space. You might be able to advertise it through your child’s school or public library, as well.
- Set up a reading room or corner. Find a quiet, distraction-free area in your home to designate as the reading area. It should have comfy seating, perhaps even a bean bag or two, pillows, blankets and good lighting.