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Read Across America!

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.

NEA’s Read Across America also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers, and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year.

In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA’s Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials recognize the role reading plays in their communities with proclamations and floor statements. Athletes and actors issue reading challenges to young readers. And teachers and principals seem to be more than happy to dye their hair green or be duct-taped to a wall if it boosts their students’ reading.

The Beginning

In May 1997, a small reading task force at NEA came up with a big idea. “Let’s create a day to celebrate reading,” the group decided. “We hold pep rallies to get kids excited about football. We assemble to remember that Character Counts. Why don’t we do something to get kids excited about reading? We’ll call it ‘NEA’s Read Across America’ and we’ll celebrate it on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.” And so was born on March 2, 1998, the largest celebration of reading this country has ever seen.

The Purpose of Read Across America

Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.

NEA's Read Across America - March 2

Get involved! Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too! Incorporate these guides and activities to celebrate reading with young people.

Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School

By Janet Halfmann; illustrated by London Lad

Born into slavery, Lilly Ann secretly learned to read and write from her master’s children—and then read everything she could get her hands on. Wishing to share her knowledge with others, she secretly taught hundreds of other enslaved people despite the great risks.