Like most schools, we celebrated Read Across America Day. Read Across America Day was launched in 1997 by NEA (National Education Association) in hopes of increasing the awareness of reading and literacy. This day was celebrated in many schools across the country on or near March 2nd. It is also known as Dr. Seuss Day, as it marks the birthday of this famous author.
I know over the past couple of years the National Education Association (NEA) phased out Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat in their promotional materials. The push for more diverse authors is the new direction for this event. My school continued with the theme of Dr. Seuss for our decorations because of tradition. For the last three years, we have kicked off our Read Across America Day by reading the Cat in the Hat. We celebrate diversity in text every day with the books our scholars read as part of our curriculum. My school had over 20 guest readers visiting our school throughout the day to read to scholars in all grades from kindergarten through sixth grade. Our guest readers read a variety of texts by a variety of authors stretching across multiple races and ethnicities.
I implored my staff to share their favorite book with students and tell the story of their fondest memory of reading and literacy. I majored in English in college and loved to read. It was in college where I was introduced to my favorite author and one of my top three favorite books of all time, The Fire Next Time. The is when I was introduced to author James Baldwin; it was where I discovered a lot about myself and where I confirmed my decision that teaching, specifically English, was the career I wanted to pursue.
We used Read Across America Day as a launchpad for a couple of new initiatives at our school. The first is Summit READS (Reading Educates and Drives Success). Summit READS is an initiative to build a love of learning for our scholars. We want literacy to surround our scholars and help drive social-emotional skills, build knowledge, and entertain. Our second goal is to build a school Media Center. The Media Center will not just be a place that houses books but be a safe space in the building where children and adults can go and read. We will use the entire month of March to push literacy and drive our new literacy initiatives.
Whether at school or home, take some time to read, but also share with someone why reading is essential to inspire the next generation of readers. Be sure that as we push literacy and the love of reading, you allow children to find their love of books through books that they love.