Read Across America Month
Read Across America is a nationwide reading celebration that occurs during the week of Dr. Seuss’s birthday every year. Around the US, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing children and books together through different activities.
This celebration began in 1998 when a small reading task force at the National Education Association (NEA) came up with the idea to celebrate reading. Research has shown that children who are motivated to read and spend more time with books generally do better in school. Reading is an important part of student achievement and the NEA values creating lifelong successful readers. They figured that since schools hold pep rallies to get kids excited about sports, they can do something do get kids excited about reading, too! Since then, NEA’s Read Across America has become the largest celebration of reading this country has ever seen.
At the COMPASS School, teachers worked hard to make Read Across America week a success. They worked together to organize a spirit week and different activities to celebrate the national initiative. Although the School is participating in a variety of reading-related activities for the entire month of March, the week of March 4thwas especially filled with festivities. Each day of the week correlated with a different Dr. Seuss book – staff and students were encouraged to dress up according to the different story lines each day. ‘Wacky hair day’ and ‘comfy day’ were especially successful, but spirits were high at the school all throughout the week.
Some of the activities included a Dr. Seuss Door Contest, where each classroom picked a Dr. Seuss book to inspire their door decorations. Students and staff worked together to make their doors lively and fun and had the opportunity to vote on their favorite door of all. At the end of the week, the winner won a prize as a token of their accomplishment. Another fun activity was a lobby roller coaster. In this activity, every time that a student finishes a book – whether it be for class or at home – they will put up a car on the roller coaster. The goal for this activity is to have at least one loop around the lobby by the end of the month to showcase the different books students have been reading.
Many teachers have taken the initiative to plan fun activities specifically for their classrooms as well – one class is doing an activity where students can pick a prize out of
the prize box after reading a certain number of books, another class is having a pizza party to celebrate, and another class even wrote their own Dr. Seuss rhyming books.
Jenn Cofer took the lead on this project. While teachers promoted reading, many other staff members participated in spirit week, following the theme of the day. To thank everyone, for their enthusiasm for the celebration, Jenn distributed little gift bags filled with ‘Gummi’ fish to everyone on Friday morning (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish). With everyone participating, Spirit Week was a great success. Students appreciated seeing staff play along with the themes of each day.
Schools around the country are organizing activities of this type to celebrate Read Across America week in a nationwide effort to promote literacy. The COMPASS School has been and continues to be invested in this initiative, and it is thanks to the teachers that the celebration has been such a huge success.