March 2 was Read Across America Day, celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss. It is a day when we are all encouraged to read a book, especially out loud to children. Schools, libraries, and homes across America love to celebrate this day.
But did you know that the entire month of March is National Reading Month? Yep, it’s true. We get to celebrate reading all month long! Isn’t that amazing?
But how can we celebrate?
I have ten suggestions for ways you, your family, your class, or your group can celebrate.
- Read aloud for 15 minutes a day. “To my children,” you ask? Nope. I think it would be great to pick a book and read aloud as a family or class, but even as a couple or a single person there is something special about reading aloud. Read to your cat, your dog, or yourself. Using a second sense will engage different parts of the brain. My younger sister used to read to her cat, Rusty all the time when she was little. Rusty didn’t seem to mind.
- Visit your local library and check out not only books, but the variety of activities they offer. I am always amazed when I walk into my local library. Posters and screens grab my attention and tell me all the wonderful things I can find to do at the library. According to my local Youth Services Coordinator, Caitilin Lindsey, this month the Henderson County libraries “are encouraging families to read books nominated for the North Carolina Children’s Choice Book Award so they can vote for their favorites throughout the month of March.”
- Go to your local bookstore. Spend some time browsing the shelves. If you need to, leave your billfold in the car. (I am talking to myself there.) Bookstores are not only a great place to buy books and sometimes coffee, but they often host programs such as book signings, author events, book clubs, etc. It is also a wonderful place to find new ideas for books you may want to look for in your library.
- Get a library card. I tend to assume everyone has one, because I had one at a young age. One of the first places I visit when I move to a new town is the library. And, once I have that all-important piece of mail to verify my address, I march myself into the library and get a card. It never fails to thrill. Getting a child his or her own library card can be a life-changing event.
- Try a new author or genre. We all tend to find authors and genres we like, but how about challenging yourself to trying something new. A biography? A mystery? Are you an adult? Read a middle grade book. (In my humble opinion they are the best.) Non-fiction? History? Science Fiction? A time period you know nothing about? A brand new author? An old book? How about Dickens? (I do better if I listen to Dickens rather than trying to read it.)
- Here’s an idea. Pick an audio book and listen to it each morning on your way to work or while driving the kids to school. My sister and her children listened to many Hank The Cow Dog books that way. Have a quiet hour where everyone finds an activity they can do while listening such as coloring, building toys, or simply lying on the floor with your feet on a chair and listen to a book together.
- I had an Aunt and Uncle who would host a reading party with their children. They would go out to the picnic table and everyone would bring their book. No one talked. They just sat there and read their books. Sometimes neighbor kids would come and join them. I think this would be the perfect party for an introvert. I’m just guessing as I’m not one. Don’t invite me to this party. I will ruin it.
- Have a reading challenge. You can challenge yourself to read a certain number of books or pages. Or gather friends or family and come up with your own group challenge. You could end the month with a party where everyone shares the favorite book that they read.
- With Spring on its way, it might be fun to note some of the blossoming plants and reappearing wildlife. Take a nature walk and make a list of the different things you see. Then, take your list to the library and find books about each one. Make it a goal to learn more about the plants and wildlife in your neighborhood. A quick way to learn about something is to go to the nonfiction section of the children’s library and find books on your topic.
- Choose an actual official reading time each day. Make it an appointment not to be missed. It can be too easy to make reading an “if I have time I’ll try to read” thing.
As President Harry S Truman said,
“Readers of good books, particularly books of biography and history, are preparing themselves for leadership. Not all readers become leaders, but all leaders must be readers.”
Do you have any additional ideas? Please share below in the comments.