By Jennifer Halter
March 2 is National Read Across America Day. Some refer to it as Dr. Seuss Day, as this is the birthday of this well-known and loved author Theodor Seuss Geisel. The celebration is a way to encourage and motivate children of all ages to read, not only on this day, but year-round. With most celebrations taking place in school and/or library settings, this year’s observances are going virtual or are taking place within
the home. Here are some ways that you can foster the love of reading on this day and throughout the year.
Host a Dr. Seuss Birthday Party
Everyone enjoys a good party, so you can have fun creating one at home to honor Dr. Seuss and his stories
that families love. You can start your day with some green eggs and ham (simply add food coloring to make
them green). Later, bake a cake or grab some cupcakes from the store and after singing “Happy Birthday,” read some of your favorite Dr. Seuss books.
Book Character Dress Up Day
Does your child have a favorite storybook character? How fun would it be for him or her to dress up like that character for the day? You may already have a costume leftover from Halloween that could work, or you can piece one together on your own. You can save some money by checking out local thrift stores, craft stores and even dollar stores for supplies. Once their creation is complete, have a read aloud of their favorite book(s) that features their character.
Virtual Story Time
Many of our local libraries have shifted from in-person story times to virtual story times, and they are
wonderful! A fun twist on this would be to host your own for family and friends. Set a date and time and invite others to join you on a video chat. If you have children who are at an age where they can read independently or with a little assistance, they could be the host and read the story of their choice. For younger children who are still in the early stages of learning to read or younger non-readers, have someone else read to them.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends of the family … any of these would be great options and create excitement for your child, especially if they get to see someone (on screen) whom they haven’t seen in a while.
It’s always fun to receive something new, and getting new books helps break up the monotony of reading
the same stories over and over. It can also help with engagement and motivating your child to want to read
more. If heading to the library to choose new books isn’t possible, you can coordinate a book swap with friends.
Have your child choose books they may have outgrown and are willing to part with, bag them up, drop them off and wait for your new-to-you books to arrive from friends. Make sure you are swapping with someone who will have books that are age-appropriate for your child.
Tell Me a Story
We never want to forget to include our youngest ones when it comes to reading activities. Even if they aren’t able to read the words, they can still tell their favorite story — which can be pretty adorable hearing them tell it in their own words and in their own way. If they seem to struggle, you can ask questions about the pictures in the book and encourage them to tell you who the characters are. Ask what the characters are doing or what they think will happen next. This helps with story comprehension and keeps them engaged.
For additional ideas on how to incorporate more reading activities into your child’s day, you can
always ask their teacher, ask a librarian or visit readacrossamerica.org.
Jennifer Halter is publisher of Macaroni Kid Woodbridge and Macaroni Kid Gainesville/Manassas.