As much as I love snow days, I’m a little disappointed not to be participating in Read Across America day with some of my kindergarten friends at a local elementary school. Read Across America is an annual event, held on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, to celebrate reading. It was created by the National Education Association. Their goals for the event are summed up nicely in their Reader’s Oath-and may I congratulate the author on writing an oath worthy of Dr. Seuss? Here it is, in full:
I promise to read
Each day and each night.
I know it’s the key
To growing up right.
I’ll read to myself,
I’ll read to a crowd.
It makes no difference
If silent or loud.
I’ll read at my desk,
At home and at school,
On my bean bag or bed,
By the fire or pool.
Each book that I read
Puts smarts in my head,
‘Cause brains grow more thoughts
The more they are fed.
So I take this oath
To make reading my way
Of feeding my brain
What it needs every day.
Last year, I participated by wearing a Cat in the Hat hat, reading lots of Dr. Seuss books, and helping welcome “celebrity guest readers” (student volunteers from a nearby high school). If you would like to help out, here are some ideas!
1. Volunteer at a local elementary school or public library. If you have kids or teachers in your life, volunteer in their class. If not, your workplace may already have a school they support (or you could help get the ball rolling at the nearest school.) Local libraries, scout troops, etc can also use your help. Being a guest reader doesn’t take much time, but it is a great way to show your love of reading. And Dr. Seuss books are especially fun to read out loud!
2. Donate some books. New or used, for any age group, sharing your books is a great way to help other readers. New teachers (like Becca!) are especially in need of books in order to start class libraries. Most local libraries have programs where volunteers raise money for the library by selling used books. Many hospitals also accept donations, especially of children’s books. Many of us avid readers were fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by lots of books, but this is an advantage that students from low income families often lack. Our local teachers and librarians are working hard to try to remedy this situation, and they need all the help they can get!
3. Plan some fun, reading-related activities for the young readers in your life! Are your kids snowed in during Read Across America day like me? You can still celebrate at home. In addition to doing some reading, consider a book-related snack or craft. With a little food coloring, you can make your own green eggs and ham. Making and decorating your own bookmarks is an easy craft, too. Little ones can do this with paper and crayons (0r popsicle sticks, paper clips, or ribbon-whatever you happen to have!), but here are a few tutorials if you’d like something more challenging/fancy:
- For this easy tutorial, you just need an envelope or two: http://labellemadeleine.blogspot.com/2012/11/envelopebookmark-diy.html
- This red and white one reminds me of the Cat in the Hat (use washi tape): http://krokotak.com/2014/02/a-bookmark-in-the-colours-of-baba-marta/
- This elastic bookmark would be especially good for school books (I was always tucking handouts and worksheets into mine….): http://alicianeversleeps.blogspot.com/2013/12/elastic-bookmarks-diy.html
Above all, I hope you take some time to enjoy reading today! I am currently caught up in Elizabeth Peters’s Crocodile on the Sandbank, and I am enjoying the luxury of some extra reading time!