Several weeks ago, literacy consultant Rachael Walker wrote to let me know about changes being made to Read Across America. Since 1998, #ReadAcrossAmerica has celebrated reading aloud with children AND raised awareness of the need to support children’s literacy. Today, it embraces diverse readers of all ages.
Two weeks from today, readers everywhere will celebrate Read Across America Day. The event has always coincided with Theodor Seuss Geisel’s birthday, March 2. For many, the day was associated with reading Dr. Seuss books. That impression lingers – despite NEA’s efforts to emphasize diversity and that the event is not just for the picture book crowd.
To bring even greater awareness and inclusiveness to Read Across America, the NEA has formally rebranded the program. #ReadAcrossAmericaDay is still March 2. [Link to Event Ideas page.] But now, it is so much more.
One of the most exciting changes (at least to me) is the emphasis of celebrating reading every day, not just for a one-day event. From the website:
Read Across America [happens] year-round to help you motivate kids to read, bring the joys of reading to students of all ages, and make all children feel valued and welcome.
Anyone who thinks the event and website are for schools, libraries, and bookstores needs to check out the tools and resources! From how to inspire readers and curated book lists to where to find free books, you are sure to find what you need. Want some ideas on ways to get creative with your reading? Check out Rachael’s article on Reading Rockets. [Who doesn’t love sitting outside to read?!]
Today’s Read Across America goes beyond selecting a book for one, 24-hour period to monthly themes. There is a digital calendar and a print version, too.
Each month, three books (one for each age group) are selected that fit a specific topic. This February, it is Explore Families and Communities.
Scroll down to the bottom of the monthly page and you’ll find literacy and reading events, as well as tailored book lists. See the full calendar here: Read Across America, 2019-2020 Calendar
I think my favorite part of the evolution is the more front-and-center effort to entice older readers. We have a generation of kids who remember Read Across America Day as something they did in elementary school. Now, they can draw on those memories and celebrate reading where they are. Check out these posters.
These recommendation lists offer every reader an opportunity to see themselves and others, and grow as readers. What better way to celebrate a nation of diverse readers.