March 2, 2015, is Read Across America (RAA) day. Schools, libraries, and individuals are spreading the word and trying to get everyone to pick up a book and read. Read to themselves. To a child. To a grandparent. To a cat. And cats seem like appropriate audiences, since the National Education Association (NEA) has chosen Dr. Seuss’s beloved Cat in the Hat as the 2015 ambassador of reading. Their website is full of “seussational” resources for RAA day.
Here are ten interesting facts, links, or activities you can check out as you celebrate Read Across America:
- The first Read Across America day was held seventeen years ago. Imagine that! It was 1998 and new books on the market included Holes by Louis Sachar, Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.
- There are nearly 9,000 public libraries in the United States. According to the American Library Association, 90 percent of public schools have libraries, but many have limited support staff.
- The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) 2015 Notable Children’s Books list is already available, and it has sections for younger readers up through all ages. So many books, better start planning!
Mental Floss has a great video full of trivia and facts called “47 Charming Facts About Children’s Books,” and it includes some great info about Seuss’s works as well. Learn why Chris Van Allsburg, author of The Polar Express, includes a picture of Winston the terrier in every book he puts out, and forty-six other things.
- Want to read poems about reading to your kids? Check out this archived list of Poems About Reading. Also, the NEA has a link to a Read Across America poem, and even a song.
- Tie your RAA reading time to another topic in class. Read about science, or perhaps celebrate a different culture. The website Jump Into a Book celebrated their second Multicultural Children’s Book Day last month and has some great links and ideas for all ages.
- If your class is busy on the official RAA day, create your own time. Involve the kids in planning, making posters, picking books, and going into other classes to read to younger kids.
- A study done by the University of Buffalo shows that reading fiction increases the ability to empathize with others. Find more tidbits like that in the article “10 Scientific Facts About Reading Books” from UNB Facts.
- Follow Read Across America on Twitter. Post what you are reading with your kids to #readacrossamerica. Watch that feed for more inspiration.
- Check out some fun reading and craft ideas for RAA day on Pinterest.
Read to a kid today and tomorrow and every day. Take time to read to yourself as well!
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