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Opinion: Celebrate Read Across America

On March 2 each year, all eyes are on books as we celebrate Read Across America.

Created in 1997 by the National Education Association (NEA) Read Across America promotes reading among children. The date was chosen in honor of children’s author and illustrator Theodor Seuss Giesel, better known as Dr. Seuss, who was born on March 2, 1904. When better to celebrate reading than on the birthday of such a beloved and prolific children’s author?

Whether it’s “Green Eggs and Ham” or “Horton Hatches the Egg,” we all know Dr. Seuss’s work and have a favorite among his books. Dr. Seuss penned more than 60 books over the course of his career, and his books for children and young adults continue to fuel imaginations and help new readers realize the joy of reading. Dr. Seuss’s legacy and Read Across America’s mission go together as perfectly as a great book and a comfortable chair.

 

“Reading can take you places you have never been before.” – Dr. Seuss

The importance of literacy in our society cannot be overstated. From news sources to novels and textbooks to grocery labels, the ability to read is crucial. Reading enriches our lives by opening new doors of knowledge and enables connections with others. It helps us stay informed about important issues and allows us to learn about different eras, experiences, people, countries, and cultures, all from the comfort of our favorite reading spot.

Read Across America celebrates the importance of reading and all that it brings to our lives. Encouraging children to continue their interest in reading is especially important during this time of remote and hybrid learning. Our children’s education is so important and the knowledge, skills, and habits they learn at an early age help form the foundation for their academic success in the future. Reading is an asset to your child’s success in their future education pursuits and beyond. You will find that spending time reading with your children will improve their lives and your own.

Reading sparks a child’s imagination. It allows them to dream of what they may want to become in life. They may imagine that they are astronauts, artists, teachers, doctors, authors, cowboys, or even the president of the United States. Imagination is a wonderful thing; it’s something every child needs to explore and develop, and reading helps them do that. As Dr. Seuss said, “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.”

Hit the books with Read Across America

Many libraries, community centers, and schools participate in Read Across America, with schools welcoming volunteers to read to students on March 2 each year. Volunteer readers include parents and other relatives, educators, firefighters, police officers, and elected officials such as mayors, council members, and county commissioners.

I’ve participated in Read Across America events throughout the years and have enjoyed hearing from students how much they enjoyed having me read to them. If you’re interested in participating in Read Across America, please check with your local school district regarding volunteer opportunities. Remember, in the words of Dr. Seuss, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”

 

Ronald G. Rios is the director of the Middlesex County Board of Commissioners. He writes the occasional column for Newspaper Media Group.

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