Celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss on March 2 by participating in “Read Across America” sponsored by the National Education Association. The first “Read Across America” day was celebrated in 1998. The White House recognized “Read Across America” in 2011 with a Presidental Proclamation. According to the NEA website, “NEA’s Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.” This year, the theme is “Read with the Trees” and has been coordinated with the upcoming theater release of The Lorax. The stars of the movie are honorary co-chairs of the event and recorded two promotional videos for the NEA. Zac Efron will kick off the event on March 2 in New York with the president of the NEA, Dennis Van Roekel.
Additionally, Mazda has partnered with the NEA Read Across America, Universal Studios, and the NEA Foundation this year to donate money to public libraries. For every test drive at a any U.S. Mazda dealership between February 21 and April 2, Mazda will donate $25 (up to $1 million) to public libraries nationwide. The funds can be accessed by local libraries through an application process in the spring. Details on how to participate in Mazda’s promotion are available from NEA in a press release. The Read Across America Tour-Driven by Mazda will visit 20 cities nationwide including Belen on February 29 at Gil Sanchez Elementary. According to NEA-New Mexico, “All students at Gil Sanchez Elementary will hear a surprise guest reader read “The Lorax”, before getting a chance to meet the Lorax himself and all will receive their own “Lorax” moustache before watching a preview of the soon-to-be-released “Lorax” movie. The school and its library will also receive reading materials and money to make available a better collection of books for the students at Gil Sanchez Elementary.”
A press release by NEA-New Mexico indicates that “Schools across the state will be having book character costume parades, cooking up green eggs and ham, inviting celebrity readers and being visited by the likes of The Cat in the Hat and the Lorax” during Read Across America Week, February 27-March 3. NEA-NM is also hosting a Read Across America celebration on March 2 at the Santa Fe Indian School. The Cat in the Hat himself will be joined by NEA-NM’s 2012 Read Across America Chairperson, Harlan McKosato. Mr. McKosato will speak to the student body. Other volunteers will read to the students in their classrooms. The event will end with cake and singing “happy birthday” to Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat.
Shining Stars Preschool in Rio Rancho is encouraging students to wear a hat from their favorite story on March 2 and then kids will have a parade around campus to show off their hats. The City of Rio Rancho is hosting “Green Eggs and Ham: A Reader’s Theatre Production” on February 29 at 6:30pm at the Lomo Colorado Library. Cake will be served following the production. Although the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Public Libraries are not hosting a specific “Read Across America” event, why not celebrate the event yourself by attending one of the “Every Child Ready to Read” or “Read to the Dogs” weekly events. The Santa Fe Public Libraries are also not specifically celebrating “Read Across America”, but celebrate the event yourself by participating in the weekly Preschool Story Times.
Local Target stores are hosting readings of The Lorax on February 25 and will have activities and goody bags. Alamosa Books in Albuquerque is having a “Seuss-tastical Birthday Party” on March 2 at their store at 8810 Holly Avenue. They will have crafts, refreshments, and stories from 4-8pm. Check back on the official NEA “Read Across America” site to see other pledges around New Mexico and other events happening around the state.
Besides attending these organized events, how else can you celebrate this day and support childhood literacy? Pledge to participate through the NEA website and see other pledges both nationally and internationally. NEA also provides a list of ideas and activities on their site including an oath, a song, and a pajama reading event. The NEA site also includes promotional materials like posters and how to create your own reading event.
As Edurado Holguin of NEA-NM says, “You’re nver to old, too wacky, or too wild to pick up a book an read with a child.” Whether you are attending an event around New Mexico or celebrating at home, eat some green eggs and ham and curl up with your favorite child and a collection of Dr. Seuss books!
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