Read With Your Family Today

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” writes Dr. Seuss, American author Theodor Seuss Geisel, in his book I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!. Seuss shares in this one of his more than 60 books not only how reading is fun but is also a useful tool to acquire knowledge.

The National Education Association has adopted Dr. Seuss’ birth date of March 2 for the largest reading party on the planet, Read Across America. Every year, the annual reading motivation and awareness program calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on Dr. Seuss’ birthday. They do so with family literacy events, design contests, pajama and pillow days, and even more creative initiatives and activities, encouraging families to continue reading all 365 days of the year. This program also aligns with National Reading Group Month, an initiative of the Women’s National Book Association to promote literacy and a love of reading during the month of March.

Motivating families to read is important. Reading is not only a fun and imaginative activity for children, opening doors to new worlds, but builds their language and communications skills, too. Reading assists younger readers in recognizing letters and sounds. It helps them begin identifying unfamiliar words from the surrounding context of other known words. Older readers learn to understand sentence structure as well as the organization structure of a written work. Reading helps them grasp ideas, understand inferences, and comprehend complex discussions. Reading at home may also influence higher math scores later in school, according to an Educational Testing Services study!

In addition to reading at home, some children enjoy quality preschool programs, gaining necessary skills to succeed in kindergarten. Yet many, especially those from low-income or troubled homes, have not been given these quality early literacy experiences. While students have widely varying early childhood experiences, it is critical they learn to read at an early age as proficiency by third grade is a crucial marker in a child’s educational development. Third graders who are not proficient readers are four times more likely than their peers to drop out before finishing high school, according to an Annie E. Casey Foundation study. State of Ohio research also shows students who are proficient readers by the end of third grade are five times more successful in achieving college and career readiness as their non-proficient peers.

The Ohio Department of Education is attempting to combat this challenge through the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. The program measures children’s reading skills at the beginning of kindergarten, first and second grades, then provides individualized services, such as tutoring, tailored reading and vocabulary instruction, to ensure they can pass a state reading assessment before being promoted to fourth grade.

It’s never too early to start children reading. Helping improve even early skills, through activities such as letter naming and sounds, rhyming and sing-along games, and repetitive readings can jumpstart a child’s developmental journey. And reading for and with older children will certainly help them in school as well as later in life. So, join us in celebrating Read Across America and National Reading Group Month by reading some books with your family today!