Read Across America Day coincides with Dr. Suess’s birthday: March 2. Conceptualized by the NEA, the purpose of Read Across America is to keep kids reading 365 days a year. The day is about celebrating the benefits of literacy and making sure all kids have an equal chance. The NEA provides online resources and activities to help make it happen.
Reading–and books in general–used to be a luxury for the rich. How sad is it, then, that so many of us choose to cast books aside as a form of entertainment? The world has certainly changed, but it need not change so much. The earliest books weren’t even books at all. The educated used clay tablets and stone slabs to carve messages, and so were quite limited with the length and influence of those messages. Or one would think, but of course we’ve all heard of the Bible.
Parchment took off as a great method of scribing thoughts and messages during the history of ancient Rome and Greece, but reading and writing were still tools of the rich. The lower classes were still denied this form of education, for the most part. It wasn’t until the printing press was made around 1440 that books became abundant.
Because of that change, prices plummeted, and so ordinary people were finally able to acquire books. This transition led to greater education, more literacy, the fall of the autocracy as it was known, and eventually, the introduction of the industrial age. Almost all technology we know today was spurred due to that one tiny event.
And so it shouldn’t be surprising that organizations around the globe find it so important to keep kids–and even adults–reading. In order for us to make the most of ourselves, we need to find methods of keeping ourselves educated and on top of current events. What will you do this Read Across America Day? There are many informational books available on a variety of topics, so why not take the opportunity to learn a little bit more about a subject that interests you? Or if the kids simply cannot pay attention to the words on a page, then at least provide them with informational learning DVDs. The world is changing, and we can make it better for everyone!