by Jessica McFaul
Director, Communications and Press Secretary
Read Across America is more than just a celebration of literacy.
It’s also a birthday party. But let’s come back to that in a minute.
Reading is the most enjoyable of all the critical skills to work with
a child to develop. Math is very important, but it’s hard to pass a
rainy day doing long division with your son or daughter. Science and technology are vital, but trying to do experiments or staring at an LED screen right before bed makes it hard to go to sleep.
Reading can be fun for a parent and child at anytime because every new book is an adventure – crazy characters, alarming alliteration and flights of imagination. And while experiencing this excitement with a child, you are also imparting an essential life skill.
Statistic after statistic shows that strong reading skills are one of the most important differentiators between success and challenges in life. The Educational Testing Services reported that students who do more reading at home are better readers and have higher math scores (so reading helps improve math skills even without the rainy day long division!).
And reading on paper is best of all. Decades of research has looked at the differences between reading on paper and reading on screens, and most of the findings report that people read more quickly, more accurately and more comprehensively on paper.
So why is Read Across America a birthday party? Because it happens every year on the birthday of Theodor Geisel – aka Dr. Seuss – perhaps the greatest contributor to increasing literacy of all time. Dr. Seuss’ books have made reading with a child fun and educational for generations of families.
So help wish Dr. Seuss a happy birthday by picking up a printed copy of a book (maybe even one by Dr. Seuss himself) and reading it with a child today. Which one, you ask? “Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find, for a mind maker-upper to make up his mind.”