Read Across America: 7 Ways to Celebrate Reading Awareness


Read Across America is a yearly celebration of reading through the art of Dr. Seuss. 

In this digital age, we’ve hit a unique point in history where the “need” for books is at an all-time low.  But, thanks to Dr. Seuss, we know, “The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

As we celebrate reading awareness at schools this week with books, character costumes, and parties, I’m reminded that Read Across America is designed to encourage reading as a way of life.  Here are 7 ways to celebrate reading in all ages and stages:

1. Babies, Bellies, and Books

Introducing music and language begins during pregnancy!  Because I was pregnant during law school, my son had the unique opportunity to hear me read aloud (a lot) before birth.  He then snuggled with me as I studied for the bar exam.  Though it wasn’t easy, my husband and I committed to reading to him daily.  Newborns love black, white, and red—he loved Hello Baby books.

2. Create a Reading Nook

Book Nook Read Across America: 7 Ways to Celebrate Reading Awareness Bethany Pappas Contributor Miami Moms Blog

In our cozy two-bedroom townhouse, I’ve learned that creativity thrives in small spaces!  Around my son’s second birthday, I turned our Harry Potter closet into a reading nook and parking lot for all things boy.  Set aside Pinterest perfectionism and create a reading corner, closet, fort, or nook.  What a blessing it’s been to watch him grow and enjoy this special space!    

3. Encourage Them to Read Aloud at All Ages

Toddlers and preschoolers have amazing memories!  Give your “pre-reader” a chance to read aloud and point to words.  Just shy of 4, my son can recite some of his favorite stories like Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana and Goodnight Moon.  He loves to read to an audience of family members.  You can also encourage older siblings to read to younger ones.  Keep it fun—don’t worry about the “right words.” 

4. Keep Books in Every Room at Home

Using books to decorate is both practical and pretty.  We have books displayed and hidden in kid-friendly nooks all around our house.  “Go pick out a book” is a favorite strategy for curing boredom and meltdowns in our home.

5. Talk to Teachers

Teachers have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to kids.  They know what works and what doesn’t work to encourage letter recognition and reading.  The two most common pieces of advice I receive are: (1) before kindergarten, read often but keep it fun and (2) once they’re reading, stay involved by continuing to read aloud as a family.   

6. Visit Your Local Library—Regularly!

FREE.  Enough said, right?  The Miami-Dade Public Library System provides free reading-based activities for babies, kids, teens, and adults all year long–beyond the annual Read Across America celebration.  This year, I’ve had the privilege of regularly attending story time with my son.  In these 45-minute sessions, he’s gained confidence in answering questions about stories and skills like checking out books, sitting on the floor in a group, and understanding the basics about the library coding system.  He’s also exposed to other cultures, languages, and older children doing homework.  As a busy mom, I also appreciate that I can browse and reserve books online.   

7. Volunteer to Read in Community Literacy Programs

Sadly, far too many children in our community lack regular access to books.   Volunteering to read a few hours per month can make a tremendous difference in a child’s life.  This is also a great way for teens and college students to make an impact and earn volunteer hours.  For example, the CARE Elementary School in Overtown opens its doors to approved volunteers so that each student has a chance to receive uninterrupted one-on-one reading time.  In addition, some public schools offer literacy enrichment opportunities and many classrooms invite parents and caregivers to serve as mystery readers.  I recently read to my son’s class, and it was a blast!  

Bonus: Don’t Give Up!

To be honest, I didn’t enjoy reading until after college.  As a kid, I preferred being outdoors, singing, and playing sports.  I know, however, that the seeds planted at home and in school set the foundation for my career as an advocate and writer.

So, if you’re discouraged that your child doesn’t love books thus far, don’t forget to keep trying because she may one day decide to take the Florida Bar!

Suess Books Read Across America: 7 Ways to Celebrate Reading Awareness Bethany Pappas Contributor Miami Moms Blog
Read Across America is generally celebrated on March 2—Happy Birthday Dr. Suess!  Because March 2 falls on a Saturday this year, the annual celebration is Friday, March 1.