All across the country libraries will be gearing up for the 19th Annual Read Across America Day. It’s celebrated today, March 2nd, to mark the birthday of an author who has helped generations of children learn to read, Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss. The day of awareness was organized by the National Education Association (NEA) to promote literacy in children and young adults.
“Every year on NEA’s Read Across America Day, the imaginations of children across the country are ignited when they open up a good book,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “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.”
Read Across America Day brings attention to the pure joy and power of reading, and connects the world as a community of readers.
“This national celebration is not just about one hour or one day of reading, it is about cultivating a lifetime of good reading habits that will translate into academic success,” added Eskelsen García. “NEA’s Read Across America brings students, parents, educators, and the entire community together to share the joy of reading.”
Reading aloud as a family is not only fun but also has many benefits…
Benefits of using read alouds:
One of the most important things adults can do in preparing children for success in reading is to read aloud with them.
- Listeners build listening and comprehension skills through discussion during and after reading.
- Listeners increase their vocabulary foundation by hearing words in context.
- Listeners improve their memory and language skills as they hear a variety of writing styles and paraphrase their understanding.
- Listeners develop individual interests in a broad variety of subjects and they develop imagination and creativity: what better way to build skills which foster inquiry?
Read to your child
Reading aloud to your children will not only give them a solid reading foundation, but it will also help them discover the joy of reading.
It’s never too early (or too late) to start reading aloud to your child. One thing we can do to kick-start the road to reading is simply to read to our children and read to them often. Discuss what you have read with your child and ask questions before, during and after your reading sessions. Create a reading nook in your home and commit to reading aloud at least once daily. Keep books readily available and take them with you when you go. Reading aloud can take place anytime, anywhere.
Make reading fun
There are many different activities that will help a child build a strong reading foundation. Mastering letters and matching lowercase letters with their sound is very helpful when a child is learning to read phonetically. Let your reader make letters out of Play-Doh, whipped topping, shaving cream, sprinkles or sand. If they are learning sight words, they can create beginning sight words with noodles or pipe cleaners.
Be the example
Monkey see, monkey do. The best example we can give to our child is to show them our love of reading. It’s one thing for us to tell a child they must read each day, it’s another for them to see us reading each day.
Enjoy the journey
There might be days when you feel as though your child will never learn to read — it can be a daunting task at times. Remind yourself that you are giving your child a gift that will truly last them a lifetime. Embrace the struggles with the lightbulb moments and enjoy making sweet memories along the way.