Celebrate Read Across America Day

March 2nd  is Read Across America Day in the United States. The initiative that encourages children to read is celebrated on Dr. Seuss’ Birthday since 1998.

Reading is one of the most fundamental skills that children need to learn to be successful in school, and in life. Nonetheless, the statistics on the number of kids who lose interest in reading for fun as they get older are staggering. Those numbers are dropping even more with the appearance of the smart phones, tablets, and social media; and it got even worst after the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to theguardian.com, a Scholastic’s survey revealed a sharp decline in reading enjoyment after the age of eight. Sixty-two percent of children between six and eight say they either love or like reading books for fun, but this percentage drops to just 46% for children between the ages of nine to 11, with the figure at 49% for 12-14 year olds, and 46% again for 15-17 year olds. These statistics call upon everyone to read and engage with children to make reading a more fun and interactive experience.

The National Education Association (NEA) has been leading the Read Across America initiative since 1998, and it is our responsibility as parents and educators to celebrate this day and motivate our children to read and make a habit out of it.

Create a Habit

The Scholastic’s survey also found that a six to 11-year-old child is more likely to be a frequent reader if they are currently read aloud to at home, if they were also read aloud to five to seven days a week before starting nursery, and if they are less likely to use a computer for fun. Here are a few ways you can help create a reading habit in your children:

  • Set a weekly or monthly goal. Make sure to reward your child when they achieve their goal.
  • Keep books in every room of the house, in the car, and in backpacks and purses. Children can read while driving to grandma’s or while waiting at a doctor’s appointment…you get the idea!
  • Set an example. Children who see their parents reading a magazine, newspaper or novel are more likely to become avid readers themselves.
  • Comment on a book. Even if it is a book that you are reading by yourself, commenting on the story while spending time together creates interest and invites children to find their own stories.
  • Read the book, watch the movie. Encourage them to read the book of a movie that will soon be in theaters and promise to take them to the movies when they are done reading it. After the movie, compare and contrast just for fun!

How to Observe #ReadAcrossAmericaDay

There are many fun days to celebrate what we also know as Dr. Seuss’ Day. Here are a few ideas:

  • Host a reading party and serve treats from books that are going to be read, such as green eggs and ham.
  • Visit and join the public library.
  • Volunteer to do read-alouds to younger students.
  • Start a book you’ve been meaning to read.
  • Exchange a book with a friend.
  • Encourage children to write a different ending for their favorite book or a new adventure for their favorite character.
  • Use #ReadAcrossAmericaDay or #DrSeussDay to post on social media.

For fun Read Across America Day activities visit these resources:

13 Read Across America Day Ideas for Kids to Bring Joy of Reading to Your Classroom | Teach Starter

10 Fun Ways to Celebrate National Read Across America Day – Holidappy

Read Across America Day: 10 Facts, Links, and Activities | Free Spirit Publishing Blog

A Dozen Ways To Celebrate Read Across America (weareteachers.com)