by Tiffany Hasker
Dean E. Vogel
Read Across America is a national day celebrating reading — this year on Monday, March 3 — sponsored by NEA and CTA, along with many of the country’s leading literacy and youth groups.
The more children read, the better they read. And the more they read outside of school, the better they do in school. Therefore, this year the Read Across America committee is piloting a project called California Reads, working closely with the California School Library Association, to expand our current day of reading celebration to a yearlong promotion of reading for all ages. Rather than just one day and just one book, California Reads offers teacher-approved quarterly book recommendations for four age groups.
Everyone can celebrate!
One of the goals of the California Reads program is to involve our local communities in reading events (see sidebar), and there are many ways to celebrate! Invite police officers and firefighters to read their favorite books to your school. Parents can 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. The list is endless!
Make sure to check our website for resources to help you celebrate, such as downloadable posters, bookmarks, certificates and parent tips. Here you’ll also find lesson plans, activity guides, videos and book reviews for the four recommended books. Go to www.cta.org/californiareads for more information.
Recommended Reading From California Teachers
The Day the Crayons Quit
By Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Crayons have feelings too!
Thank You, Mr. Falker
by Patricia Polacco
This autobiographical story is the author’s personal song of thanks to teachers like Mr. Falker, who quietly but surely change the lives of the children they teach.
by Brian Selznick
Ben and Rose wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known; Rose dreams of being an actress. This highly illustrated novel weaves together their stories, set 50 years apart, which take them on a quest and lead them to a common place. (Review by Mike Heyl, reading specialist and Read Across America committee chair.)
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Ari is an angry 15-year-old loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents and his family that he has never asked before.
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