45 Million Kids and Adults Celebrate Read Across America Day

How old were you when you learned to read? For me, it was around age four, and reading quickly became my ticket to freedom. I grew up in a vicarage in the southwest of England, and couldn’t wait to escape. When I was old enough, I started traveling, but before then, reading books took me to foreign lands.

I am thrilled that today is Read Across America Day, when more than 45 million students, parents and educators participate in the National Education Association’s giant reading party.

There Is Even A Presidential Proclamation:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2, 2015, as Read Across America Day. I call upon children, families, educators, librarians, public officials, and all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

President Obama begins his declaration by saying:

As a Nation, one of our greatest responsibilities is to ensure every American child can experience the transformative power of reading. Literacy is the gateway to all other learning, and it is the most basic building block of opportunity in an economy increasingly built on knowledge and innovation. On Read Across America Day, we celebrate the ways literacy has enhanced our lives and recommit to empowering every student with a strong start and a passion for reading.

Celebrating the Importance of Reading

The first Read Across America Day was in 1997, and the March 2 date was selected as a great day to celebrate reading, since it is the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss’s tale of promise and possibility, is this year’s featured book, honoring the 25th anniversary of its publication.

Across the country, schools and libraries will take this week to organize community read-ins, character parades and book fairs. On a bigger scale, there will also be the popular Read Across America Cat-a-Van tour. This is a two-week event featuring reading stops at schools across the nation and donations to school libraries.

So many people, young and old, having fun with reading!

Why Is Reading Important?

What makes it so crucial to expose children to language and reading at an early age? Here are just a few of the benefits of reading.

*  Kids who read often get better at it. As in everything else that we do, practice makes perfect.

*  When children read, they exercise their brains. Reading strengthens brain connections and actually builds new connections. (Not so true of watching TV, for example.)

*  Through reading, children learn about people, places and events outside their own experience. They are exposed to ways of life, ideas and beliefs around the world which may be different from those around them.

* On the pages of great books, children can see for the first time that their potential is limited only by the size of their dreams and the power of their imaginations.

*  Reading improves a child’s vocabulary and leads to more highly-developed language skills. Children learn new words as they read and they also learn how to structure sentences and how to use words and language effectively.

*  Children who read do better at school. For many years now, teachers have recognized that reading happens across the curriculum. Students need to be readers in order to well in all subjects, not just English Language Arts.

* Reading is fun! It’s also really easy these days to take an e-reader wherever you go, and children can learn they will never be bored waiting in line when they have a book to read.

*  Reading relaxes the body and calms the mind.

This last benefit of reading may be the most important. So many youngsters today have been trained to expect constant movement, flashing lights and entertainment all the time that they have lost the ability to relax.

Sadly, many of the teenagers I teach are addicted to their cell phones. On several occasions when I have been forced to remove a phone from a student because she was using the device inappropriately in my classroom, the young woman has burst into tears and begged me to let her keep her most precious possession.

On Read Across America Day, let’s follow President Obama’s call to recommit to empowering every student with a strong start and a passion for reading.

Photo Credit: South Carolina State Library

62 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Adrienne L.
Adrienne L3 years ago

thanks

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sandra vito
Sandra Vito4 years ago

gracias

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ERIKA SOMLAI
ERIKA S4 years ago

thank you for sharing

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey4 years ago

Not just in America. But why not call it something more global? In the UK it's World Book Day.

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Georgina Elizab McAlliste
.4 years ago

read ! read ! read who could live without BOOKS ?

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Magdalena J.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you!

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Danuta Watola
Danuta W4 years ago

thank you for sharing

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Debbi W.
Debbi -4 years ago

Where our grandchildren attend school (and it started in elementary school) they were required to a certain number of books a semester and received bonus points for extra books read. Our granddaughter literally has loved books all of her life, they were her escape when she felt she needed one.

Parents need to be made aware that reading is paramount for their children. Many parent aren't readers or feel they can't read well enough to read to their children. This must be addressed. 'Modern' math is another load of B.S. Generations succeeded quite well learning math the old way, simple, direct and of course useful throughout .your life.

There is a generation or two who will be crippled, completely unable to deal with life if anything shuts down the internet -- disasters or sunspots, etc. Such a sad statement about our 'modern' society.

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Sharon S.
Sharon S4 years ago

It's sad to hear about libraries closing down, they have cut back severely on school librarians since my children were small. These days where I live you are lucky to see if you have a guaranteed 1/2 time school librarian.

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