National Read Across America Day falls on March 2 every year. If you’re worried about forgetting the date, just remember– it’s also Dr. Suess’s birthday! Established in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA), this initiative strives to make reading a fun activity for children while giving them a safe and encouraging place to further develop their skills. We’ve rounded up five ideas to get your children reading in celebration!
1. Design and decorate bookmarks
Start your Read Across America celebration by creating some festive bookmarks. Drawing and coloring are cognitive development activities, which makes this simple craft the perfect warm-up activity before diving into the books!
2. Sign up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Started in 1995 and inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a free book-gifting program. Monthly, Dolly sends age-appropriate books directly to each child that registers, insuring children have books they can be excited about.
3. Visit your local library
Spend time at your local library exploring the books. Check out a few to take home and read together throughout the week. Participate in story hours or other activities the library is offering.
4. Listen to a story read by the author
During the height of the pandemic, authors began reading their own stories virtually to children stuck at home. The idea itself stuck, and many are still doing it. Check out your favorite children’s book author and see if they are offering any story hours or have pre-recorded readings.
5. Talk with your child about what they’re reading
Reading comprehension is crucial for their intellectual growth as well as figuring out their reading preferences. Well established preferences can help create lifelong readers. Encourage this growth by talking with them about their books, or take it an extra step further and give them some writing prompts so they can practice their writing at the same time.
6. Donate books
Read Across America is a great opportunity to teach your children the importance of giving back. Encourage them to go through their old books and choose some to be donated. Teach them where their books will be going and why, as well as who will benefit from their generosity.
7. Check out NEA’s monthly reading list
Did you know the NEA posts monthly book recommendations? Following a monthly theme, the NEA recommends books based on grade level (elementary school, middle school, and young adult) for your kids to read. March’s theme is Celebrate Diversity. The best part is, you can go back and re-visit every month you missed to make a full reading list!
8. Dress up as your favorite character!
Whether everyone dresses up from the same book or has total creative freedom, have a “show-and-tell” style fashion show where you each talk about your character– their traits, their fears, their strengths– whatever makes them, them!