Read Across America with Teacher Created Materials (2024)

Read Across America is a year round celebration of reading, with special celebrations in March, National Reading Month. Learn more about Read Across America and the many ways to celebrate it in your classroom, school, and community. This article offers suggestions and a free eBook with ideas, tips, and templates.

Read Across America

Read Across America is the largest celebration of reading in the United States. It has been taking place since 1998 when it was started by a committee of educators in partnership with the National Education Association (NEA). It is a year-round program which encourages and supports reading for everyone and educates on the well-documented benefits of reading for children and young people. Its ultimate goal is to encourage students to become engaged readers and learners.

The results from a 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center showed that the number of students who read for fun was at an all-time low. The National Education Association is working to change this statistic through Read Across America. Some of its initiatives include promoting access to books, particularly the kinds of books that students want to read. It offers suggestions for books with diverse themes. The NEA also encourages making time to read for pleasure, individually and within the community. The Read Across America initiative prioritizes reading together as a community and celebrates reading as a fun and essential aspect of American life.

"Read Across America is an important event for TCM because it gives us the opportunity to live out our vision of 'creating a world in which children love to learn,’" said Deanne R. Mendoza, Executive Vice President. "It allows us to connect with students, teachers, and our communities through literacy and learning. We are appreciative of all the work students and teachers are doing across our nation.”

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Read Across America Events in March

Read Across America is a year-round celebration of reading, but March is a special celebration as National Reading Month. Read Across America day falls on the birthdayof Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, who was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts. During his career as an author, illustrator, and cartoonist, he wrote more than 60 children’s books. These books are considered some of the most popular of all time, with more than 600 million copies sold in more than 20 languages by the time of his death in 1991. The impact of Dr. Seuss on reading led his birthday to be declared Read Across America day, an apt kickoff to National Reading Month.

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Ways to Celebrate Read Across America

You can find year-round resourcesto take part in Read Across America. During March, numerous events are organized across the nation to promote reading among children. You can find and attend local events that are happening in your school or community. Or you could even volunteer at or host your own Read Across America event to celebrate reading! Here are some ways to celebrate Read Across America.

Find Scheduled Read Across America Events

Your local community is likely planning events in the month of March. Check the school, district, or public library website or calendar to learn more about events like read-a-thons, parades, and guest readers for Read Across America day or week.


Read Across America celebrations are special events that require planning and manpower to bring to life. Learn about opportunities to which you can lend your time and talent. You can reach out directly to your local school, PTO, or library if you are interested in being a Read Across America volunteer. Other organizations (like United Way or United Through Reading) seek reading volunteers, mentors, and tutors to participate in the Read Across America program through local chapters both year round and in March.

Plan Your Own Event

In charge of planning a Read Across America event in your organization or community? Really all you need is a great book and some children to share it with. Pair a read aloud with an engaging activity that builds on the book’s themes. You can select a book with built-in activities to make the activity planning effortless, like Paula's Patcheswritten by Gabriella Aldeman and illustrated by Roccio Arreola. This beautiful children’s book shares the story of Paula, a problem-solver with a creative solution to share with her community.

While she is at school, Paula’s pants tear. When she tries to hide the hole from her classmates, she realizes that they too have things in disrepair. Readers will follow Paula through her initial embarrassment, to curiosity about colorful patches, and finally excitement about a solution that helps both her and her classmates. This engaging text is also a natural discussion starter on important topics of consumerism, throwaway culture, and fast fashion. The back of the book includes a section with suggested art activities for children.

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If you have another book in mind for your read aloud, the Great Works Series of instructional guides offered as companions to many literary works can help. These guides accompany some of the most beloved literary works including Newbery Medal and Honor titles, timeless classics, popular children's, tween, and young adult literature. They include engaging activities and lessons created to support each title, including two Dr. Seuss classics. The Green Eggs and Ham guide includes cross-curricular lessons and activities that work in conjunction with the text to teach students how to analyze and comprehend literature. The Cat in the Hat guide supports students in analyzing story elements in multiple ways, close reading and text-based vocabulary practice, and determining meaning through text-dependent questions. Both guides offer options to build on the fun and engagement of your read aloud.

Simply Share a Good Book

You don’t need a special day or even month to celebrate reading. We know how powerful reading can be. Great books have the power to instruct, teach lessons, demonstrate life skills, and reflect powerful emotions that students feel. Reading books aloud creates community, bringing us all together with shared experiences. Even if it’s not part of a formal Read Across America event, reach for a book. Share a story with the children in your life as often as possible, and pair it with an activity that builds on the power of the shared experience and the lessons it holds.

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Read Across America celebrates the joy and the importance of reading year-round, and especially during March with Read Across America Day and National Reading Month. With fewer students reading for enjoyment, carving out the time and space to make room for fun community reading opportunities is more important than ever. There are so many ways to participate!

Read Across America with Teacher Created Materials (2024)
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