By Sheri Miyamoto
If your favorite recipe calls for a pinch of adventure or a spoonful of excitement, you’ll be ready to celebrate Read Across America in 2011. We’re still “Serving Up a Good Book” with the spotlighted book Armadilly Chili by Helen Ketteman, and sharing good reads with good friends. Scoop up your favorite book and join in the fun for Read Across America Day on Wednesday, March 2.
Read Across America was established by NEA in 1997 as a day to celebrate reading, to mark how important it is to motivate children to become readers in order to master basic skills, and to encourage students to have a lifelong love for books. It’s celebrated each year on or near March 2, the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss.
This year’s honorary California chairs will include the Food Network’s “Outrageous Food” host Tom Pizzica, “The Next Food Network Star” finalist Doreen Fang, and possibly other surprise guests. Also returning this year is children’s book illustrator Will Terry, who created the art for Armadilly Chili and the original artwork for CTA members as part of the RAA celebration.
CTA members can access RAA art and materials through the CTA website at www.cta.org/RAA. In addition, books, plush toys, stickers, pencils, chili mugs, rubber stamps and RAA T-shirts will be available for purchase at upcoming CTA conferences, as well as at our new CTA Read Across America Online Store at www.ctareadacrossamerica.com. New this year, and only available at conferences, will be a colorful, functional and fun apron.
CTA welcomes Souplantation to our family of partners, along with our returning partners: the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Barnes & Noble, the California Library Association, California Professional Firefighters, the California School Library Association, the Dodgers Dream Foundation, First Financial Credit Union, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Los Angeles Kings, Scholastic, See’s Candies, and Will Terry.
Shop early, shop often — but plan ahead!
Remind your principal about the event and refer him or her to the CTA or NEA website (www.nea.org/readacross) for additional information and ideas. If March 2 conflicts with your school calendar, arrange your celebration for another day that week or even the week before or after.
Consult your school librarian, who may have event ideas and resources to offer.
Invite “guest readers” to visit your school and read to students. Visits from police officers, firefighters, radio and television personalities, athletes, political figures, and other community members can make a big impression on young people. Ask your guests to tell your students why reading is important in their lives and what their favorite books were when they were children.
Share your plans with your colleagues. Pledge to participate on the NEA website and keep your local association office informed of what you’re doing at your school. Let your local media outlets and education reporters know about your event.