Reading Across America

Read Across America week commenced on March 2. This celebration of literacy also commemorated the birthday of Dr. Seuss and promoted his book, The Lorax, which was adapted into a film starring Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, and Danny DeVito. To kick off the event, Efron and DeVito went to the New York Public Library, where they read The Lorax to about 300 children.

In a statement, President Obama proclaimed March 2, 2012 to be Read Across America Day.

“Parents and caregivers can play an essential role in developing fundamental skills by reading aloud regularly, helping children explore new words and concepts, and instilling enthusiasm for language and storytelling,” Obama remarked. “These first lessons help pave the way for a love of reading that can last a lifetime. As children move from the living room to the classroom, teachers, librarians, and families use books to reinforce reading proficiency and build critical thinking skills that provide the foundation for a world-class education.”

This week, schools around the country have shared stories about their promotion of literacy through Read Across America. Many schools have taken the opportunity to foster literacy in languages other in English. In Billings, Montana, high school students read Dr. Seuss to elementary students in English, Spanish, and French. Spanish teachers in Fairfield, Connecticut took part in Read Across America by reading Spanish-language translations of Dr. Seuss books. An elementary school in Santa Ana California invited parents and grandparents to bring in heir favorite children’s books to class to read out loud in English or Spanish.

The National Education Association started the Read Across America program to foster literacy and reading for pleasure in K-12 education. Their website offers lesson plans, classroom decorations, and links to organization that offer free resources to teachers. The NEA provides lists of bilingual books and other texts dealing with multicultural themes, such as Asian-American books and Native American books.

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