Celebrate Read Across America Day with Tips for Raising a Reader
This is a big week for literacy! We celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday AND Read Across America Day on Wednesday March 2nd. The National Education Association declared March 2nd the first annual Read Across America day in 1998, and it has been gathering steam since! The task force that originally came up with the idea thought,
“We hold pep rallies to get kids excited about football. We assemble to remember that Character Counts. Why don’t we do something to get kids excited about reading? We’ll call it ‘NEA’s Read Across America’ and we’ll celebrate it on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.”
Read more about the history of Read Across America Day and how to get involved.
This week, schools nationwide, home schools, libraries, day cares and community centers will celebrate Read Across America day and Dr. Seuss’s birthday in creative ways. As you join in the celebration, remember that raising a reader is a year-round commitment! Here are some tips for making reading a priority in your household or classroom. You can print this PDF and hang it on the wall as a colorful reminder of some of the ways parents and teachers can encourage a lifelong love of reading in children.
1. Bring out your inner actor.
Rather than flatly reciting the words on the page, incorporate different accents for the characters. Add drama with theatrical hand gestures, build anticipation by including pauses, and let the emotions of the story register on your face.
2. Encourage interaction.
When reading to your child, pause every now and then to ask questions about the story, wonder aloud about alternate endings, or propose new character names.
3. Talk about books.
The benefits of reading to children don’t have to stop after you’ve closed the book. After sharing a story together, bring it up in conversation throughout the day. Compare a real-life event to something that happened in the book, or ask how your child thinks a certain character would handle a specific situation.
4. Introduce books in new scenarios.
Why wait until bedtime to pull out a book? For babies and toddlers, bath times and meal times provide great opportunities for enjoying a story. Car trips are another perfect opportunity to bring out the books.
5. Consider joining a book club for children.
With the overwhelming number of kids’ books on the market, it can seem like a daunting task to select the ones that are right for your child. When you join a book club for children, you’ll receive hand-picked titles tailored to your kids’ ages and interests.
6. Explore reading resources for children.
The internet offers an abundance of children’s websites with creative ideas for promoting early literacy, fun literacy games and reading tools for children.
7. Encourage reading outside of books.
Throughout a typical day, there are hundreds of opportunities to recognize words and phrases. Challenge your child to find new mediums for reading, whether it’s a billboard, newspaper, cereal box or storefront sign. This will help your child grasp the significance of reading in the real world and give him a chance to apply what he’s learned.
8. Introduce your own childhood favorites.
Remember those timeless classics you couldn’t get enough of as a kid? Bring them back into the limelight by reading them to your own child. Your excitement for those old beloved stories is sure to rub off on your little one.
9. Volunteer your reading services.
If your child is of school age (or even in daycare), reading aloud to his class is an excellent way to foster his love of books and to demonstrate your support and commitment to his reading success. Most daycare centers, preschools and elementary schools welcome parent volunteers.
10. Take field trips to the library.
The library is an invaluable reading resource. Many libraries feature designated story hours, where a librarian reads selections aloud to a targeted age group. Check with your local branch for more activities to promote reading.
The importance of reading to children can’t be disputed. By utilizing literacy resources for children, incorporating books as part of your child’s everyday routine, and looking for creative ways to promote reading, you’ll be giving your youngster a head start toward academic success and a rich, vivid imagination.
Happy Read Across America Week!