Celebrating Reading

The first week of March is recognized in many local schools as Read Across America Week, and celebrates children’s author Dr. Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

Read Across America Week was created by the National Education Association and focuses on the importance of reading – and of reading to children – early and often.

Whether it’s dressing up as the Cat in the Hat, cooking up green eggs and ham, serving as a “celebrity reader” in a local elementary school, or just cuddling up to your child to read a bedtime story, Read Across America events remind us of the importance of what could easily become a lost art in the rush of life today.

Yet there’s not a much more important factor in future success than the ability – and the desire – to read. Most of us take it for granted and don’t remember how we learned the skill, but we use reading every day. Research shows that kids who spend time reading do better in school. And whether it’s by reading traffic signs or employment applications or college textbooks or exam questions, reading ability follows us through our lives. As does the enjoyment of sitting by a warm fire and reading a book to relax.

If your child’s school asks you to spend a little extra time reading at home this week, go for it. In the midst of busy, out of control schedules, it will be time well spent. While you’re at it, schedule a trip to the children’s room at your local library. Seeing an entire building filled with books can open up yet another memorable reading experience for your youngster.

So whether it’s from Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) time in class, or awards given to students “caught” reading during the school day, Read Across America Week underscores the importance of the simple act of picking up a book and getting lost in the story that awaits. You can read on a Kindle, you can read on a computer, but best of all, you can read in a book. And when you read to a child, you’re building memories for both of you. Think back to those moments with “The Runaway Bunny” and “Goodnight Moon.”

As Dr. Seuss wrote, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”

And because March is also National Reading Month, don’t forget to carve out some time for yourself and a good book as well.

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