Today is Read Across America Day, first established by President Barack Obama March 1, 2011. We celebrate this day to remember the importance of reading and literacy, and to re-assert the importance for parents, teachers, and communities to encourage children to read. As President Obama puts it:
“Parents and mentors can help build fundamental skills by reading aloud to children regularly, discussing the story, and encouraging children to ask questions on words or content they do not understand. By passing a passion for literature on to our sons and daughters, we prepare them to be lifelong, successful readers, and we provide them with an essential skill necessary for academic achievement.”
Reading is important for many aspects of our lives. We read as we drive down the road; we read to accomplish our work; we read as we surf the Internet. Our children are growing up in a world where words are everywhere, and to succeed, they need to learn the fundamentals of reading early on, including deciphering new words, analyzing text, and comprehending text.
Our President puts it best:
“Our Nation’s young people rely on the critical thinking and analytical skills gained from reading to build other areas of knowledge, including the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The next generation’s ability to excel in these disciplines is crucial to America’s strength and prosperity in the 21st century.”
So, what steps do we now take to encourage a love of reading in our children so they will succeed throughout their lives? We read to them and show them the “fun” behind each story. Reading is fun because it takes us into a new world and shows us new things. And with a world of books at our fingertips through libraries, bookstores, the Internet, and different technologies, we can read about any subject. The point is to make reading fun!
Is it any wonder that this important day falls upon the birthday of one of the most influential American children’s authors? Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born this day in 1904. It was in the late 50s that he released his ever-popular The Cat in the Hat, which was only the beginning of a collection of books created to help children learn to read through fun, plot-filled stories. Instead of learning to read with “Dick and Jane,” our children have a library full of learn-to-read books that are not only interesting to children but parents as well.
Today, to celebrate Read Across America Day, find a little time to just read with your child. Read a short book, a long book, a pop-up book, an interactive book, a book on your smartphone or tablet, a book about pirates or princesses, a book about dinosaurs or Amelia Earhart. . . . Read about anything. Just read.
Here are just a few things we did around the office to celebrate our day:
We had a visit from Rusty and sat down with him for story time.
Rusty also visited the kids in our Community Center, a free community program provided by Waterford Institute™ for children ages four to six (preschool age) that uses Waterford’s reading software program, the school equivalent to Rusty and Rosy Reading™.
Read the full Presidential Proclamation—Read Across America Day, 2011 here.