By Kimberly Blaker
What better day to celebrate Read Across America Day with your grandchild than on the birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss, March 2nd? It’s the perfect kickoff to March’s National March Into Literacy Month, both of which are dedicated to the promotion of reading and literacy.
Read Across America Day was first introduced by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998. The NEA’s goal for the celebration is to motivate kids to become lifelong readers, thereby improving student performance. Every year, schools, public libraries, and other organizations celebrate this day by holding reading events for kids.
Ways grandparents can promote reading
There are many ways to promote a love of reading and encourage grandkids to read not only during this celebration but year-round.
Read to kids. Begin reading to your grandchild very early. The NEA suggests infancy is an excellent time to start. As your grandchild grows, encourage their participation in reading the story with or to you. Although your grandchild may not be ready to read, kids often memorize some of their favorite books or pages. Making children an active participant helps develop their love for reading.
Visit the library. Think of the library as a big free educational toy store. Help your grandchild choose some books, but also encourage him or her to select some on their own. Kids can also take home audiobooks, video games, videos, and music CDs.
Help your grandchild build a collection. One thing common among reading lovers is how much they enjoy having their own book collection. Help your grandchild grow a personal library of their favorite series, author, or genre. Then assign a special shelf to store and display the collection.
Play word games. Look for board, computer, or phone games that help kids develop their reading and spelling skills and vocabulary.
Sign up for Goodreads. Through this Android and iOS app, kids can track both the books they’ve read and those they want to read. They can also check out what their friends are reading.
Subscribe your grandchild to a magazine. There’s a host of kids’ magazines on the market and something for every age group. It will give your grandchild something to look forward to each month and build enthusiasm for reading.
Read in front of your grandkids. Show them that reading isn’t just a school requirement, but rather a lifelong activity. Let them see you reading both to learn and for pleasure.
Form a kids’ book club. If your grandchild is interested in it, this is a great way to build excitement for reading. You’ll want to find kids who are all at about the same reading level. You’ll need to decide where to hold the weekly or monthly meetings, which could be at your house, or perhaps your school or public library will provide you space. You might be able to advertise it through your grandchild’s school or public library, as well.
Set up a reading room or corner. Find a quiet distraction-free area in your home to designate as the reading area. It should have comfy seating, perhaps even a bean bag or two, pillows, blankets, and good lighting.
Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer. She also owns an online store, Sage Rare & Collectible Books, specializing in out-of-print, scarce, signed, and first editions; fine bindings; ephemera and more at sagerarebooks.com