The Blog at CTA

Sac City Leaders Join Thousands in Read Across America

Nikki Milevsky, a school psychologist and president of the Sacramento City Teachers Association, reads about the achievements of the lovable pachyderm, Horton, during Wednesday’s Read Across America event.

Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA) leaders were among the thousands of Californians who took time out of their day to read to students as part of Read Across America.

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Assembly Commemorates March 2nd as Read Across America Day

(From l.) Assembly Education Chair Patrick O’Donnell, a former teacher and CTA member, presents a member’s resolution to CTA Board Member Toby Boyd honoring the Association’s efforts to boost literacy through California Reads and Read Across America.

The California Assembly on a unanimous vote adopted a resolution proclaiming March 2, 2016, as Read Across America Day in the state. The measure was authored by Assembly Education Chair Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), who was himself a teacher before being elected to the legislature.

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Legislature Lauds CTA on Read Across America Day

(Photo above) Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), a former educator and CTA State Council representative, presents an Assembly Resolution on Read Across America Day to CTA Board Member Toby Boyd, an Elk Grove kindergarten teacher, during ceremonies on Monday.

For the first time, both Houses of the California legislature on March 2 celebrated Read Across America Day by presenting the California Teachers Association and our national affiliate resolutions honoring the organizations’ efforts to encourage parents and community members to read to children.

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California Joins in on the Read Across America Celebration

Read Across AmericaCTA officers and board members spread out all over California on Monday, March 3 to help celebrate Read Across America.

Dean Vogel started the day with Tom Torlakson reading to 3rd graders in Sacramento, then followed that up with a visit to Suisun Elementary and their public library where he read “The Day the Crayons Quit” (photo at left).

Eric Heins spent time at Bagby Elementary in San Jose; Mikki Chichoki and Jose Alcala spent the morning at La Jolla Elementary in Moreno Valley reading to classes there, and Sue Cirillo read to eight different classes at Beachy Avenue Elementary in Arleta.

CTA Board Liaison Kendall Vaught read to two different classes at Commonwealth School in Fullerton. Dana Dillon was on hand to receive a resolution from the State Assembly in Sacramento. And prior to Read Across America Day, Tyrone Cabell and Toby Boyd both participated in large community events celebrating reading. 

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Capitol News: Legislature Approves Resolution Declaring March 1 "Read Across America Day"

Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-San Ramon) presented to CTA a resolution honoring Read Across America and ongoing efforts to encourage youngsters to read and adults to read to them.  Accepting on behalf of CTA was board member Toby Boyd.

The Assembly Member's resolution, AJR 10, was coauthored by 75 Assembly Members and approved by a unanimous voice vote on Feb. 28, the day before the March 1 Read Across America celebration.  Join in celebrating today. Visit for more information.

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Assembly Approves Resolution Honoring Read Across America and CTA

(Photo above) Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-San Ramon) - at center - presented to CTA Board Member Toby Boyd (l.) and CTA Legislative Manager Lori Easterling a resolution honoring Read Across America and ongoing efforts to encourage youngsters to read and adults to read to them.

The Assembly Member’s resolution, AJR 10, was coauthored by 75 Assembly Members and approved by a unanimous voice vote on Feb. 28, the day before the March 1 Read Across America celebration.

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From “learning to read” to “reading to learn”

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 width reading skills than width 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

Learn more:

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.”

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Working in Our Schools and Communities

Read Across America was a huge success as thousands of reading events took place in California schools. It was also a great day to include community members in the work we do in our classrooms. I enjoyed reading width the president of the California Professional Firefighters Association, Lou Paulson, at Nicholas Elementary School in Sacramento. A big thanks to all of you who organized reading events and helped us highlight the importance of reading to kids every day.

I also enjoyed visiting and helping out at Project Angel Food in Los Angeles. As part of our community outreach efforts CTA has contributed to Project Angel Food for several years. The organization cooks and delivers free meals to those who are suffering from terminal illnesses. They deliver more than 13,000 meals every week. On March 9, myself and other CTA leaders joined sixth graders from Vine Street Elementary to help prepare meals for that day. Working width the students and other volunteers was exciting and rewarding. Getting out into our communities or taking opportunities to bring others into our schools is a great way to share what we do as educators, talk about the importance of public education and work together to build a better California.

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CTA President Dean E. Vogel (at left) and Lou Paulson, president of the California Professional Firefighters Association, read “Boris Ate a Thesaurus" to students in Mrs. Susan Lopez’s class at Nicholas Elementary in Sacramento as part of Friday’s Read Across America efforts.

Pres. Vogel and Pres. Paulson, who is honorary head of the California 2012 celebration of reading, read to students in two classrooms.  To the students of Mrs. Lopez and Ms. Jill Bauman, the message was the same: reading can be fun, as well as educational.

The CTA leader joked width the students, confiding that about the only times he is not reading is while he is driving in his car or taking a shower.

The CTA President also spoke to a news team from Channel 19, the local Spanish language television station, and emphasized the importance of adults reading to children to help them achieve a love of reading.

Elsewhere around the state, other CTA leaders and thousands of teachers, parents, and business leaders are reading to students, encouraging them to make reading a hobby and a habit.

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Assembly Resolution Honors CTA’s Read Across America Efforts

This morning, Assembly Member Tony Mendoza (D-Norwalk) presented an Assembly Resolution, coauthored by 63 Assembly Members, to CTA Boardmember E. Toby Boyd (pictured right) commending CTA and NEA for its efforts supporting Read Across America and its work to reach the goal of helping every student achieve excellence in reading.

Assembly Member Mendoza, a former teacher in Los Angeles, also distributed to all Assembly Members copies of the “Lorax,” a children’s tale that champions the enduring power of hope. He urged the lawmakers to read to students in schools in their districts.

The Assembly’s passage of the resolution came one day before March 2, Read Across America Day, that will see parents, legislators, and others taking the time to read to students in classrooms across the state.

On March 2, CTA President Dean Vogel and California Professional Firefighters President Lou Paulson, RAA's honorary chairperson, are slated to celebrate the annual event by reading "Boris Ate a Thesaurus” and “Gabby and Gator” to first-graders at Nicholas Elementary in Sacramento. Several other CTA officers will also be reading at schools across the state.

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Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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