Artwork by Rafael López adapted from <i>Our California</i>
Help teach children that Reading Takes You Places by getting involved in Read Across America 2013!
2013 Book Selection — Our California
Surf waves in San Diego, climb Half Dome in Yosemite, or see the sights of San Francisco by cable car by opening Our California, the 2013 CTA featured book for NEA’s Read Across America. Written by Pam Muñoz Ryan and beautifully illustrated by Rafael López, this book is a perfect way to help celebrate CTA’s 150th anniversary. Our California is a wonderful way to show children the spirit of California as it highlights fun features or the historical importance of 14 California cities with colorful, evocative and eye-filling imagery.
Read Across America, celebrated this year on March 1, is a national day to promote literacy co-sponsored by CTA. “The more children read outside of school — regardless of their age — the better they do in school,” says Kendall Vaught, CTA’s Read Across America Committee chair.
How are you celebrating?
There are many ways to celebrate and plan a reading event! Here are a few ideas:
- Invite police officers and firefighters to read their favorite books to your school.
- Ask parents to volunteer to read in their child’s classroom.
- Librarians can arrange special story hours.
- Practice dramatic readings with your students.
- Invite a local news anchor or even your mayor to read to your group.
- Ask your local bookstore to host a children’s read-in.
Cool Tools & Resources at www.cta.org/raa
- Certificates of Participation
- Coloring sheets
- 6 keys to helping a child become a good reader — multiple languages available
About the author
Pam Muñoz Ryan is a renowned author of several award-winning children’s books. She has received the NEA’s author recipient of the Civil and Human Rights Award. Learn more about her at www.pammunozryan.com.
About the illustrator
The artwork for this year’s Read Across America was done by Rafael López, the illustrator of Our California. Read about how he got inspired for Our California at rafaellopezbooks.blogspot.com/2010/10/our-california.html.
Reading Takes You Places!
From “learning to read” to “reading to learn”
Reading is an important learning tool
1. First-grade reading scores are fairly reliable predictors of future academic success.
2. By third grade, students are expected to know reading fundamentals and are no longer taught how to read.
3. Many students are held back not for their intelligence level, but for their reading skills.
Students who fall behind in the early grades have a harder time catching up. Throughout grades K-12, children are building upon their knowledge base and developing grade-level academic skills and understanding. Without a solid base, students struggle and lose confidence in their abilities. The first knowledge base is the ability to read.
Research shows learning to read early is fundamental to a child’s future academic success. A National Association of School Psychologists study found that retention in first grade is correlated more powerfully with reading skills than with IQ. This means many students are held back not for their intelligence level, but for their reading skills.
Third graders are not being taught how to read. They are expected to know the fundamentals of reading, and apply their reading skills across the curriculum. Third grade teachers use written text to teach math, history and science.
This shift from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” is extremely difficult for children who have not mastered basic reading skills. As they get older, struggling readers struggle academically. A recent study found 74 percent of third-graders who read poorly are still struggling in ninth grade, and high school graduation can be reasonably predicted by third-grade reading scores.
Only a generation ago, this did not matter as much as it does today, because the long-term economic effects of not becoming a good reader and not graduating from high school were much less severe.
Check out CTA’s keys to becoming a better reader at www.cta.org/raa.
Want to read more? Check it out.
National Association of School Psychologists (2011). White paper: “Grade retention and social promotion.”
J.M. Fletcher and G.R. Lyon (1998). “What’s Gone Wrong in America’s Classrooms — Reading: A Research-Based Approach.”
National Research Council (1998). “Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children.”