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Read Across America

Read Across America Day: Encourage Reading and Honor Dr. Seuss

Georgia parents, March 2 is Read Across America Day! We here at Cowart Insurance believe there are so many reasons to encourage children to read.

First of all, it’s fun! It’s also an activity that promotes learning and independent thought. But, perhaps most important, becoming a reader can mean the difference between success and difficulty later in life.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, children who read proficiently by the end of third grade are more likely to graduate from high school than those who don’t. They also are more likely to be economically successful as adults.

The National Education Association (NEA) is well aware of the impact that literacy can have on a young person’s life. That’s why the organization started Read Across America in 1998. Held on the school day closest to the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss (March 2), the event goes beyond promoting reading for just one day. It also provides tools for educators and parents to create lifelong readers.

We here at Cowart Insurance want you to have a few tricks up your sleeve to promote reading at home. After all, one of the most crucial factors for the success of young readers is parental involvement. According to the U.S. Department of Education, when involvement is low, reading scores are 46 points below the national average.

So how can you encourage your child to read? Here are some tips from the NEA and the Public Broadcasting Service’s “Between the Lions” show:

  • Be a reader yourself. Set a good example by letting your kids see you reading every day.
  • Make reading and literacy fun. Have the family read together, and encourage a love of words by playing rhyming and word games and singing silly songs. You can even write poems and stories as a family.
  • Take part in Read Across America on March 2 every year. Check in with your local school, education association, library or bookstore to find out what they have planned. Or plan your own event for the families in your neighborhood.
  • Make it convenient. Carry a few children’s books or magazines wherever you go, whether it’s a car ride, the doctor’s office, etc.
  • Go to the library. And make sure you let your children choose some of their own books.
  • Find used materials. Inexpensive books and magazines are often available at yard sales and secondhand stores. Dedicate a small corner of your home to creating your own library.
  • Give (or get) the gift of reading. Try to incorporate reading into gifts for birthdays and other events. If relatives or friends ask for gift ideas, suggest magazine subscriptions and books.

  • Show why reading is important in everyday life. Read other things with your child, from street signs to restaurant menus, so they see what reading means in the “real world.”

Too often, our hectic schedules mean we take less time to do the things we enjoy. So, remember, reading with children isn’t just fun for them — it should be fun for you, too! After all, as Dr. Seuss himself wrote, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”