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Read Across America Day: Beyond "Green Eggs and Ham"

Experts say parents, teachers and other adults can be reading role models for kids. (Louis Palanker/Flickr)
Experts say parents, teachers and other adults can be reading role models for kids. (Louis Palanker/Flickr)
March 2, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Read Across America Day is held annually on March 2nd to coincide with the birthday of the author known around the world as Dr. Seuss. And in the past 20 years, the observance has grown beyond 'Green Eggs and Ham.'

Schools and libraries across Ohio hold special events Thursday to celebrate the joy of reading.

The initial focus of Read Across America Day was on books for beginning readers, but events have expanded to include older students. Angie Jacobson, director of communications with the Ohio Library Council, says they're reminding families that there are a number of free resources at their local library.

"Kids are looking for more digital formats, but we have found that even kids that are in middle school enjoy read-alouds at the library or book clubs,” she says. “A number of libraries have really tried to focus in on young adult readers."

Research shows students who read more at home are better readers and have higher math scores, but it also shows that most kids read less for fun as they get older. Events celebrating reading in Ohio Thursday include family literacy nights, book clubs, and green eggs and ham breakfasts.

President of the National Education Association Lily Eskelsen Garcia says creating a nation of diverse readers is the theme of this year's Read Across America Day.

"We want to give our students a broad, broad brush of the cultures out there, the richness of our communities,” she says. “We want to make sure every student can see himself or herself reflected in some of the books that they read."

Garcia encourages parents to be reading role models. She explains spending time sharing a book can create a lifelong love of reading.

"Don't ask them questions, like end-of-the-chapter questions; just go, 'Wow, did anything like that ever happen to you?' Get them in a conversation with you about what they're thinking about as they read that story, and that is actually where the magic happens."

An estimated 45 million people nationwide will participate in Read Across America Day.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH