The National Read Across America Day is annually held on the first school day closest to March 2. The date is the birthday of Dr. Seuss, who is known as a writer of many children’s books.
What Is Read Across America Day?
“43 million U.S. adults possess low literacy skills.”The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
The first Read Across America Day was launched in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA). Right now, after more than 20 years, it’s the largest celebration of reading. A day at first, it has become a year-round program that now aims to motivate children and young adults to read more by holding numerous events and introducing various reading resources.
“People aged 15–44 in the U.S. spend 10 minutes or less per day reading.”Bureau of Labor Statistics
It is not news that we don’t read as much as we should. Another piece of common knowledge is that if we get the habit of reading early in life, we are most likely to stick to it. That’s why the NEA work is so important.
And that’s why kindergartens, schools, libraries as well as communities follow and try to introduce the NEA program each year on March 2.
Why Dr. Seuss?
Dr. Seuss was an American writer and illustrator of immensely popular children’s books. The first Read Across America Day was on March 2, which was Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and has been held on or near this date ever since.
What’s the Read Across America Day Schedule?
You can check the schedule of all the coming Read Across America Days on the website of the National today. When a day is a weekend, the evens usually take place on the closest working day.
Why the NEA is Changing Its Reading List?
Times change, and last year, the NEA decided to focus on other children’s books instead of Dr. Seuss’s ones. The thing is that while the plot of his books is intriguing and there are many unusual creatures and funny words in them, they were written when many things were not considered. That’s why Dr. Seuss has become controversial.
Therefore, after a 20-year partnership, the NEA started to follow the shift in focus and directed their attention toward inclusivity and diversity in children’s books (which, as it appears, Dr. Seuss’ books lack).
Here is the list of recommended books from the NEA, a wonderful collection of children’s books of all ages. The recommendations are divided into thematic blocks (e.g., African American Authors, Hispanic Heritage Booklists, LGBTQ Recommended Reading, Great Poetry to Read Aloud, etc.), with numerous fantastic children’s books inside.
Since NEA strongly encourages people to read throughout the year and not just on Read Across America Day, you can also check the recommendations for the following months. Their March recommendations are Tiara’s Hat Parade, Each Tiny Spark, and They Called Us Enemy.
At BooksRun, we are all about reading! After all, it’s our job to provide access to affordable books to everyone. You can check the NEA recommended books on our website and find the ones you’ll be reading with your kids on this Read Across America Day.
We recommend In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers, a collection of fantastic poems by new and established African American writers devoted to fathers, Kiyoshi’s Walk, a book filled with delicate haiku and describing the author’s walk around the city with his grandfather, or Paint the Wind, the book from the NEA’s Read Across America: State by State category. It’s the story about Maya and a wild mustang called Artemisia, set in the rugged Wyoming wilderness.
What Else to Do on Read Across America Day?
“Reading statistics show 83% of children who are read aloud to love it or like it a lot.“Scholastic
While the first priority is to read with your kids, trying to motivate them to do it themselves more and encouraging them to read wherever they are, you can also set an example and include other pastimes.
- Keep books everywhere. When you commute to work, take a book with you. Put another one in the car, have a book or several books in every room, on the shelves, tables, next to your bed, everywhere.
- Take your book out. Go to a coffee shop or take it to dinner if you don’t have kids. You can still enjoy Read Across America Day by allowing yourself to get immersed into your favorite novel, especially if you don’t have time and your must-read list is growing larger and larger.
- Visit the library and take your kids with you. Seriously, even now, when you can download ebooks. You should teach your kids how to use a library and why it’s such a great pastime. Book stores and thrift shops are also great to visit. You don’t even need to buy anything; simply visit and browse through the titles.
- Get caught reading by your kids. The best way to set an example is to start doing something yourself. Your kids will see that you read often and will be willing to copy your habits. It’s in your power to show them how powerful and wonderful reading is.
- Read to your kids. Reading aloud is a great exercise for you both: you can practice articulation, and your kids improve their vocabulary.
- Let your children read aloud, too. We promise they’ll love it!
Let’s celebrate Read Across America Day together. At BooksRun, we’re positive that reading is fantastic. Not only it’s the first and foremost step to learning, but it’s something that shapes us into who we are (let alone serve as a great stress reliever). We are offering you to browse our extensive collection of used books and read them with your kids on March 2! You are also welcome to sell them back to us when you no longer need them!