On March 2, the birthday of renowned author Dr. Seuss, we were honored to celebrate Read Across America Day.
We applaud our teachers and administrators who look for interesting ways to make reading exciting for our students. In the week leading up to Read Across America Day, many of our schools participated in theme days. Stepping into the hallways, we spotted funny pajamas or wacky socks. The dress-up days are just one strategy to inject a little more fun into our literacy efforts.
In addition, students enjoyed their favorite books read by a few special guests. At Homecroft Kindergarten Academy, Indianapolis first lady Stephanie Hogsett read to three classes of kindergartners. She read “Llama Llama Home with Mama,” a story that unfolds when Llama spends a day sick at home with his mom.
She also read the tongue twister and Seuss classic “Fox in Socks,” which was a fitting choice since the students were wearing their crazy socks. Teachers got into the spirit, as well, wearing their colorful Seuss getup.
At the Early Childhood Academy, preschoolers were treated to a series of books by administrators and staff members. Among the readers was Superintendent Pat Mapes, who narrated “It Looked Like Spilled Milk,” while students were clad in their PJs for pajama day.
At Jeremiah Gray Kindergarten Academy, several administrators stopped by to read their favorite books. Associate Superintendent Vickie Carpenter and Jane Pollard, director of English learning and staff development director, wore blue wigs to bring their stories to life.
It is vital to find creative ways to make reading fun, especially for young students who are starting to form their impressions about school. Encouraging literacy should not just happen in the classroom. Parents can also encourage reading at home. Although wearing costumes can be fun, there are other simple strategies to engage students:
• Read every day: The more children are exposed to books, the more likely it is that reading will become part of their daily routines.
• Make suggestions: Recommend books that match your child’s interest but refrain from reacting judgmental if they prefer a genre or title that doesn’t excite you.
• Give rewards: Consider buying your child a new book or making an extra trip to the library in exchange for earning good grades or assisting with chores.
• Surround your children with books and magazines: Children who have access to grade-appropriate reading resources at home tend to perform better on standardized tests.
Many experts recommended that beginning readers spend 15 or 20 minutes reading each day, in addition to the reading they do at school.