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Celebrate Read Across America 2018

Celebrate Read Across America 2018

NEA’s Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.


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In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA’s Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials recognize the role reading plays in their communities with proclamations and floor statements. Athletes and actors issue reading challenges to young readers. And teachers and principals seem to be more than happy to dye their hair green or be duct-taped to a wall if it boosts their students’ reading.


Looking for ideas to celebrate?  Here is a list shared from the NEA site:

Spirit Day for Reading
Mark Read Across America Day with Seuss spirit. Have a school-wide Crazy Hat Day, Wear-Red-and-White Day, Foxiest Socks Day, Pajama Day, Wear-Your-Clothes-Inside-Out Day, or Come-As-Your-Favorite-Seuss-Character Day. Be sure to tie books into your festive-wear theme with read alouds of related titles.

Door Décor
A school-wide door decorating activity gives everyone a chance to show enthusiasm for reading—from the kindergartners to the school nurse. Door décor can feature elements from favorite books or be totally Dr. Seuss themed. Get students involved by using photographs or student drawn self portraits embellished with Cat in the Hat hats, Thing 1 and Thing 2 blue hair, or notable features from other favorite Seuss characters. Don’t forget to include a reversible door hanger—Do Not Disturb, We’re Reading! / Come In and READ with Us!

Cook Up Some Reading Fun
Serve up some green eggs and ham on Read Across America Day or make these tasty toppers: Cat in the Hat pattern snacks! Provide kids with wooden skewers (or small straws) and red and white foods: banana and strawberry slices; raspberries and mini marshmallows; red pepper and white cheese. Have kids alternate the red and white foods as they put them on the skewer then let them enjoy the snack as you read aloud.

A Chorus of Readers
It’s hard not to join in on a reading of a Dr. Seuss book. His inviting rhymes and rhythms are hard to resist! Reading aloud in unison with a whole class or large group is great reading motivation and helps build students’ fluency and self-confidence. Plan choral readings of Dr. Seuss titles for the classroom or school-wide assembly. Use a projector to display the books so everyone can see the book and read aloud.

Reading Buddies
Sharing what’s inside a book with younger kids is great fun for older readers. Pair students in early elementary grades with older readers from upper grades, middle or high school. Prepare older students to read aloud and work with their younger buddies on a reading related craft such as making bookmarks or writing books of their own.

Literary Field Trip
Plan a field trip to your local library or bookstore. Work with the librarian or bookseller to develop a guided experience for your students that includes time for both exploring and hearing books read aloud. Local libraries and museums also often host exhibitions that focus on children’s book authors and bookstores have authors for public readings and events. Take advantage of their efforts and offerings.

Online Reading Action
Bring readers and reading fun to kids through your Internet connection. The Skype an Author Network can help you plan a virtual visit with an author for a classroom or a school-wide assembly. With Google Lit Trips students can step into stories they’ve read and take the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. Or you can “Read Across America” with a video call to share a story with classroom or guest reader in another part of the country.

The Reading Challenge
Many schools use Read Across America Day to kick off a school-wide reading challenge. And there’s nothing like the promise of an adult to make a fool of himself/herself to inspire readers to read to great lengths. To make the reading challenge work, the challenge must be challenging, but doable, and the incentive, hilarious. Some themes to consider:

  • Human Hot Fudge Sundae. Challenge kids to read food-themed titles with the reward of turning an authority figure into dessert—a human sundae covered with chocolate syrup and whipped cream!
    Clowning Around. If kids meet the challenge of reading a certain number of humorous books, an authority figure dresses as a clown for a day.
  • Looking Good! Kids reading a remarkable number of books or minutes makes a remarkable change in and authority figure’s appearance: shave heads or beards, dye hair outlandish colors, wear costumes or unusual clothes, etc.
  • Animal Love. Fill your challenge list with books about animals and have your authority figure kiss one (pig, snake, goat, cow, llama, yak) to reward readers for meeting the challenge.
  • Fill Your Dance Card The Cat in the Hat Ball has been a popular Read Across America activity for some NEA Higher Education members. Consider holding a Hat and Book Bop of your own! Boogie and browse books in the afternoon with younger students. Or hold a more formal evening affair for older readers—attire is dressy casual, with a hat!
  • Caught Red Hatted Some kids long to sneak away and escape inside a book while others need encouragement. Boost book interest by awarding raffle tickets to students “caught” reading. Offer a fabulous Cat in the Hat hat, a lunch of green eggs and ham with the principal, and books as prizes. The Get Caught Reading campaign has more suggestions for catching readers.

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Why Reading Is Important

Reading exercises your brain and improves concentration.  Reading can expose us to different worlds, people, and places.  Learn about different ways of life or challenges others face which also builds empathy.  Reading improves your imagination. When we read, our minds picture how a scene or person looks.  Or perhaps use our imaginations to understand how characters are feeling which can help with how we deal with others.  Do better in School.  Besides the obvious of being able to do their lessons, kids who read tend to do better all around through school.  They also tend to have a better opinion of themselves and others.  But most of all it is fun!  To be able to escape away to another time and place where you can experience life in a new way.


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Special Events With Dr. Seuss

  • Barnes & Noble
    Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Join us for Storytime, games, and activities in celebration of the beloved author’s birthday. Saturday, February 24th.
    Visit to find a store near you!
  • Target
    10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
    To celebrate, all Target stores will be hosting a Dr. Seuss read-along. Join us for story time with a big book version of Green Eggs and Ham and take home some fun freebies.
    Visit to find a store near you!

And of course, the biggest event is at the Dr. Seuss Musuem!

Dr. Seuss Birthday Party
March 3 @ 9:00 am–5:00 pm
Dr. Seuss is looking pretty good for 114!
Our Dr. Seuss Birthday Party is an annual favorite full of wacky, crazy, and sometimes delicious fun. This is our biggest celebration ALL YEAR: we are opening the Springfield Science Museum and the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum an hour early at 9 am and there will be dozens of activities throughout the museum galleries.

Please note that while the birthday activities will be open to all visitors, timed tickets for the Dr. Seuss Museum will sell-out fast–order advance tickets today! All activities are FREE with museum admission.


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What do you do to celebrate Read Across America day?


Read America


If you need more ideas to help encourage your non-reader, NEA’s Read Across America also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers, and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year.

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Stephanie is the owner and author of The Autism Diva - a blog that focuses on Travel, Lifestyle, Family and Autism. The Autism Diva is listed among Top Disney Blogs, Top Mommy Bloggers, Ultimate Bloggers List and was a 2018 WEGO Health Nominee for BEST KEPT SECRET. Stephanie values family first and enjoys travel, food, and wine. Her family currently lives outside Boston, MA with ties in Atlanta, GA.

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