Read with your children on NEA's Read Across America Day!

Read with your children on NEA's Read Across America Day!

© Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Thinkstock © Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Thinkstock

From Seussville to Who-ville and Oh, those many great places in between, the Cat in the Hat will help put reading on the map. The 14th annual NEA's Read Across America Day—the nationwide party that gets kids of all ages excited about reading—is expected to draw more than 45 million participants on Wednesday, March 2. 

"NEA's Read Across America has become an annual tradition in schools and communities in every state across the country. What began as a few reading parties 14 years ago has grown into a huge national literacy event," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. "While we take a fun and lighthearted approach to our Read Across America celebrations, we do so with a serious purpose in mind: to encourage a love of reading. As educators, we know that students who read—and are read to—do better in school and in life."

NEA's Read Across America is sponsored by the National Education Association, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., Random House Children's Publishing, and more than 50 national partnering organizations. Every March 2, Dr. Seuss' birthday, NEA members nationwide host school and community events designed to pay homage to the beloved children's book author and to get the nation's young people excited about reading.

NEA's 2011 Read Across America celebrity kick-off event took place at the Library of Congress. First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and more than a dozen celebrities read to hundreds of local students.

President Barack Obama has endorsed the day with a presidential proclamation. In part he wrote:

"Hidden in the pages of books are extraordinary worlds and characters that can spark creativity and imagination, and unlock the potential that lies within each of our children. Reading is the foundation upon which all other learning is built, and on Read Across America Day, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting America's next generation of great readers."

But you don't have to go to a celebrity reading or official event to spark an interest in your child. University of Maryland's Prof. Peter Afflerbach, suggests the following tips help parents ensure reading success for their students:

  1. Find ways to create enthusiasm for reading.
  2. Encourage your child to read different types of texts, including books, magazines, newspapers, and the internet.
  3. Ask your children questions about what they read - don't let what is learned by reading just "sit there!" Most children relish the opportunity to tell us about what they're reading.
  4. Help your child find reading materials that are suited to individual interests and reading achievement levels. Libraries and bookstores are good places to begin.
  5. Talk with your children about how reading is important in your life and ask them how it is important in their lives.
  6. Try not to communicate any anxiety related to your children's reading.
  7. Ask your child to recommend a book for you or a friend.
  8. Engage your children in writing. Young authors learn from the authors they read, and young authors relish the opportunity to share their ideas.

Additionally, across the country and around the world, deployed members of the military will don red-and-white stovepipe hats and read to their children and families. Thanks to Read Across America partner United Through Reading, the "Cat in the Hat" readings will be recorded, and the DVDs will be shipped to service members' loved ones back home.

"Good reading skills are a long-term investment in a student's success," said Van Roekel. "NEA's Read Across America brings students, parents, educators and the entire community together to share the joy of reading. NEA provides tools, resources and tips for parents and educators that make reading a fun and enjoyable experience so kids will keep turning pages." 

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