STAIR Celebrates Read Across America
Posted by STAIR-Annapolis on March 3, 2021
It's a great month to be a reader!
March is National Reading Month, and we celebrate Read Across America this week.
The National Education Association (NEA) founded Read Across America in 1998, deliberately centering the event on the popular works of Dr. Seuss in order to get kids (and their grown-ups) excited about reading. The association proved very successful, and Read Across America is now widely celebrated by school children across the country.
For the past several years, however, the NEA has made a concerted effort to distance itself from Dr. Seuss. As of August 2019, Read Across America no longer has any ties to Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which means the Cat in the Hat and other Seuss characters don't appear in any official Read Across America marketing or promotional materials. Now, the NEA encourages schools and libraries to observe Read Across America by "Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers," planning events and activities that embrace a broader, more varied range of children's books.
Why this shift away from Dr. Seuss, beloved by generations of readers?
The answer is pretty simple, really: Children's literature is much bigger than a single author!
There’s a growing need for schools and libraries to include and promote diverse books. Students need books that provide both windows and mirrors if we are going to create more readers, writers, and people who feel included and recognized, and who understand that the world is far richer than just their experiences alone. NEA recognizes the need to work with a more diverse array of reading organizations and publishers to fulfill this need.
When we make time to read with kids, children get the message that reading is important and fun. When we read books that accurately and compassionately represent characters of all races, genders, and backgrounds, students discover their own voices and learn from the voices of others.
That's the goal of Read Across America, and we think that's something worth celebrating!
If you'd like to learn more about Read Across America, including recommended reading lists, fun activities that celebrate all readers, and ways to add more diversity to your bookshelves at home, here are some excellent resources to get you started:
Anne Arundel County Public Schools AACPS Unites: Celebrating Diversity in Literacy
The National Education Association Read Across America
8 Ideas to Celebrate Read Across America
Diversify Your Bookshelf (with FREE printable checklist!)