National Read Across America Day takes place annually in correlation with the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Seuss’s birthday is on March 2, but Read Across America will be celebrated on March 1 this year (due to the 2nd falling on a Saturday). Across the country, schools, libraries, communities and families can participate in the celebration with the goal of fostering a love of reading. We are book lovers year-round in our house, but we also look forward to setting aside a specific day each year to celebrate the joys of reading and the wonder of Dr. Seuss. Whether you make your day a Seuss-themed affair, read from a featured book on National Education Association’s website or grab your child’s favorite book from his bookshelf, make reading with and to your child a priority. Here are 5 things I love about celebrating Read Across America Day as a family:
We Spend Quality Time Together: I’m a mom of two busy boys. Outside time, active play, building legos and dinosaurs are how we spend much of of our free time. But sitting down together and reading our favorite Magic Treehouse books can help shape cognitive, social and emotional development as well as building reading comprehension. We use this time to reconnect while reading as a family.
We Use Our Imaginations: Dr. Seuss is known for his whimsical stories of ooblek, Who-ville, sneetches and an elephant named Horton. There are endless ways you can encourage your child to use his imagination through rhymes, repetition, silly stories and made up words. We also love William Joyce’s The Mischievians, a book about a group of ancient mischief makers who are to blame for annoying things like hitting your funny bone, earworms and belly button lint.
We Make Treats: My first grader and preschooler love helping make treats for Dr. Seuss’s birthday party. Some of our favorites are the cat’s hat made of sweet treats, string cheese decorated like the cat in the hat and sugar cookies that look like green eggs and ham. You might use skewers and alternate bananas and strawberries for an easy Seuss snack. We read Happy Birthday To You by Dr. Seuss and make birthday cards for Theodor Seuss Geisel, who would be 115 this year! Seussville.com and The Teacher’s Corner have activity ideas for various ages and grade levels.
We Celebrate Diversity: NEA Read Across America 2018-2019 celebrates a nation of diverse readers by offering a digital selection of monthly book recommendations. These monthly book suggestions also include discussion questions, additional texts and other resources. We recently read Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai and Alfie (The Turtle That Disappeared) by Thyra Heder, two books that we may not have discovered without this resource.
We Make The World A Better Place: We use books as an opportunity to introduce and converse about real world issues and shape their minds for the better. In the Magic Tree House series, A Big Day for Baseball gave us a chance to discuss the civil rights movement in America and the importance of equality for all. Dr. Seuss even provides opportunities for discussing helping others in the face of adversity in his classic, Horton Hears a Who. Stories for all ages offer such valuable lessons; don’t miss a chance to engage their minds!