Read across America Day was founded by the National Education Association (NEA) as a day to celebrate and motivate children and teens to read. The day commences March 2 every year, the birthday of the cherished children’s author, the late Dr. Seuss.
On this day in cities around the Unitied States, teachers, librarians, parents, grandparents, politicians, athletes – you name it – are encouraged to develop activities that excite and inspire young readers.
Reading is a major part of how we learn, grow, and view the world around us. Why is reading so important you ask? Here are just a couple of positive impacts – it helps memory improvement, stress reduction, strengthens analytical thinking, and provides mental stimulation.
Those sound awesome right? Everyone wants those brain benefits, and we want them even more for our children. So how do I encourage my student(s) to enjoy reading?
We scoured a few of our favorite resources and put together some tips for parents and teachers to apply at home and in the classroom.
12 Ways to Inspire Young Minds to Indulge In a Book
In the Classroom
- Read aloud to your students, or read along with them. Share Dr. Seuss books, such as Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham (or something more advanced). Then ask them to make their own rhyming short stories with illustrations.
- Bring your favorite book to life – dress up as your favorite book character and encourage your students in advance to get into costume too. Once in costume, read the book with your class. And if you’re really into it – try to reenact some of the chapters with your students.
- Transform your classroom into a cozy reading space. Make a haven for young readers with blankets, pillows, beanbag chairs, or sheets to hang from the ceiling and turn the room into a large fort. Switch off the lights, turn on lamps or let your students use flashlights to read. Get comfy and have a pajama day – with slippers and stuffed animals. This perfectly translates from the classroom to the home (see tip #1 for “At Home”)- send home a letter to parents and encourage them to do the same, and to key into whether their child is doing this on their own!
- Pair up students and make reading buddies. Have students read aloud their favorite books to each other. Or read a book together.
- Hold a book swap – have students bring in books they have already finished and trade with other students. This is not only cost effective for parents, but chances are they will be likelier to read something another classmate enjoyed or recommended. Here’s a helpful article for an orderly and organized book swap.
- Take a field trip to the local library or bookstore. Explore the store and sit down to hear some books read aloud. Work with the library staff to make the field trip a memorable and fun experience for your students- they may have a great activity up their sleeve!
- Get artsy. Provide paper, colored pencils and markers for them to make bookmarks for their own books, or have your students illustrate their favorite book. And let their imagination run wild. Getting creative with your class will help them bring their favorite books to life!
- Have a reading party at home. Get cozy in pajamas, make a fort and fill it with pillows, blankets and flashlights, make some popcorn or ice cream sundaes, then curl up with your kid and read. Read to them, have them read aloud, or each read your own book – whatever works for your family!
- Get them a personalized book light and create a place next to their bed where a few books can easily be placed. This sounds like a no-brainer, but if the books are difficult for them to reach, or the lighting is not good enough for easy reading, they will be less likely to enjoy reading. We found a $10 book light on Amazon that comes in various colors and designs.
- Pick a book to read together. Take breaks to discuss what is happening and how you think it will end. While reading, make it more interesting with intonation, excitement, and special voices for each character.
- Take your time – be patient with your young reader. Spend time on each page going over words and admiring the illustrations.
- Let your child know that it is okay to stop and ask questions, create an open dialog that gets their imagination and creativity flowing.
- Take your young reader to the library or bookstore and have them pick out books that they want to read. This will give them a feeling of ownership and you can find out what subjects they enjoy. As mentioned in tip #6 for in the classroom, there is also a chance the library staff will have fun activities for engagement, and books read out loud by these expert readers will make it exciting.
Check here, and the NEA website, for more ideas on how to get children and teens reading. Take the Read Across Pledge, and comment below how you will celebrate the day! Share these 12 ideas with your family and friends.
Our Favorite Reading Quotes:
- As stated by the man himself, Dr. Seuss, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.”
- “A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.” – Neil Gaiman
- “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.” – Josh Jameson
- “There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.” – Marcel Proust
- “A great book should leave you with many experiences and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” – William Styron
- “Some books leave us free and some book make us free.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “A book is a device to ignite the imagination.” – Alan Bennett
- “Books are uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King
- “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax all you need is a book.” – Dr. Suess
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