Behind the quiet façade of a reader, wars rage, loves swoon, aliens emerge from the darkness of space, and people communicate with ghosts.
This quiet wonderland is part of what inspired Read Across America, which started in 1997 as an effort to celebrate the excitement of reading.
According to the National Education Association (NEA), the NEA “sponsors and spear-heads the program with support from 40 national nonprofit and association partners. Locally, everyone—from schools to libraries to community centers to churches to hospitals to bookstores—is invited to host local events to celebrate and promote children’s reading.”
March 2 is Seuss’s birthday, and so marks the celebration of Read Across America.
Organizations plan and implement reading activities, book drives and create reading promotional materials to advocate for reading during the Read Across America celebration, but promoting reading does not have to be on one day or week of the year, nor does it need to be promoted by an organization.
The goal of Read Across America is to present the delights of reading to youth, and help them overcome their reading inhibitions, so that they can enjoy the wonders secured on the pages of books.
There are many ways families can promote reading to their children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Some families have game night, but why not incorporate a reading night?
One way is to implement reading night is to choose and read a book together. Each per-son can have their own copy of the book and then discuss the chapters read individually at the end of the week after a Sunday evening meal.
However, family reading night does not have to be a solitary act. A family could have one copy of a book and read it aloud to each other a chapter at a time rather than sitting through a TV series on Netflix.
For younger children in the family, parents or guardians could choose one book a week to read the way teachers share a book during reading time in daycares or elementary schools.
There are other ways that people can engage in the reading community. Some people create book clubs and conduct book studies or just gather at someone’s house or a specified location, bringing snacks and discussing the book.
Despite the characterization of reading as a tedious task, reading is an essential and necessary aspect of everyday life, and while in the modern age, many have
Dr. Seuss is synonymous with fun reading. His books play with words and riddles and have delighted readers for decades.
While not everyone likes the act of reading, arguably, everyone does like a good story. In our current society, we have many ways we can enjoy a good story – through film, stage plays, television series, comics, graphic novels, novels, short stories, or storytellers.
Regardless of the venue, there is a writer and creator of the story before it ventures out into the world and seeks its audience.
When it comes to the written word, there are many obstacles to reading. Some of them are physical, such as one student at C-EB High School who said she struggles with reading be-cause the words and lines on the page shift, and she often loses her place while reading.
She adjusts her approach to reading by listening to texts as she reads, which helps her keep track of the words on the page. She also reads aloud when doing so does not disturb oth-ers.
Others have trouble with language, and making sense of the reading is a struggle be-cause they do not know the meanings of the words in the text.
Still others have difficulty imagining the story in their minds, or “mind movies”, created by the words played out in their imaginations.
On the other end of the reading population are the avid readers who devour book after book and sometimes forget whether they saw the movie or read the book.
Reading has often been criticized as an escape from the here and now, although there are many who have replaced reading books and magazines with social media and the internet searches, which are just another version of an escape.
But one could also argue that we all need an escape from the world as we know it, al-lowing us to travel into unknown territories or places, meet different characters who inevitably resemble real people, and explore ideas from a plethora of perspectives.
Whatever your plans this weekend, Read Across America encourages people to pick up a book and enjoy all it has to offer.
Below is a list of the WRE staff’s favorite novels and poems.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Nor Crystal Tears by Alan Dean Foster
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Flight by Sherman Alexie Crank Series by Ellen Hopkins
Alex Cross Series by James Patterson
IT by Stephen King
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Death Series by J.D. Robb
“The Lovesong of J. Alred Prufrock” by TS Eliot
“somewhere i have never traveled” e.e. cummings
“The Mending Wall” by Robert Frost
“Motto” by Langston Hughes