Reading across America – and Hawaii

Read Across America

March 2 is Read Across America Day – and Dr. Seuss’s birthday! Let’s all celebrate by reading to a child!

Did you know that just 15 minutes a day of independent reading (out loud with parents or by themselves) can expose children to over a million words every year? (Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988). Children who read at home have larger vocabularies, greater success in school, and good reading habits that can last a lifetime.

Since we’re celebrating books and the joys of reading, I thought I’d share some of the Hawaii activities and programs that encourage a life-long love of reading.

Hawaii Public Libraries (http://librarieshawaii.org) offer free ongoing storytimes for children ages 3 and up, as well as cozy reading areas and other special events.

Bookstores Barnes & Noble (www.barnesandnoble.com) and Borders (www.borders.com) offer free ongoing storytimes and special events, as well as author signings.

Read to Me International (http://readtomeintl.org) shares the love and joy of reading aloud. Their message is simple: “Every child in Hawaii will be read to every day for ten minutes.” This year, you can listen to them at the free Kahala Mall Toddler Times on February 16, April 16, July 6, and September 7. Schools and community events with at least 50 participants can also request a presentation.

Book It! Reading Program by Pizza Hut (http://www.bookitprogram.com) helps K-6 teachers encourage reading by setting monthly reading goals. Children can earn Pizza Award Certificates and qualify for the All-Star Reader’s Honor Roll. Ask your school to sign up for this free program!

Read Aloud America (http://readaloudamerica.org) promotes literacy and encourages a love of reading. Schools can pay for a classroom program and 6-session family program.

Hawaii Literacy (http://hawaiiliteracy.org) promotes literacy and lifelong learning. Volunteers offer adult literacy, family literacy, classroom on wheels, English as a second language, and a drop-in center.

Reading is Fundamental (www.rif.org) motivates young children to read. They have a network of volunteers and literacy programs in Hawaii public schools.

First Book (www.firstbook.org) provides new books to children in need. Schools and programs with at least 50% of their children from low-income families can register to buy books at a 50-90% discount. Some schools may even qualify to receive new books for free.

Dr. Seuss wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Where can a book take you today? What books have inspired you? And who will you inspire by reading today?

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