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Read Across America in October!

Family stories are a gift to each generation. Making and sharing stories help kids discover who they are. Use books to help students appreciate multiple viewpoints on cultural and historical events and explore their own cultural heritage and identity.

For Younger Readers

Pattan's Pumpkin: An Indian Food Story by Chitra Soundar; illustrated by Frane Lessac (Candlewick, 2017)

After lavishing care on a withering plant, Pattan has a pumpkin large enough to rescue more plants and animals when flood waters rise.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

As part of an oral tradition of storytelling, folktales entertain as they pass on the beliefs and history of a culture and can help students understand and value cultural knowledge and differences. Review the elements of folklore and the importance of oral tradition in passing on traditions and stories. Pattan is a previously unwritten flood story from the Irular tribe that live in the valleys of the Western Ghats. Have students research this region of India and discuss how where a storyteller lives influences the stories he or she tells.

Learn More About:

  • The Western Ghats from Wildscreen Arkive and explore the amazing biodiversity found in this mountain range running down the south-west side of India
  • Storytelling and oral traditions in this series of lesson plans available from PBS LearningMedia

For Middle Grade Readers

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh by Uma Krishnaswami (Tu Books, 2017)
ItMaria, who is adha-adha ("half and half"), with a father from India and a Mexican mother, strategizes to protect her familys California farm and play softball in the face of racist and sexist laws.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

Family stories can help others understand how people's choices have shaped our history and still influence our lives today. Talk about the choices characters made in Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh and have students discuss what they admired about Maria or another character. Then have them brainstorm names of people in their family that they know or have heard about who did something they admire, like fight against an injustice or make a statement through politics, art, fashion, or sports. Ask students to find out more about a family member who acted on his on her beliefs by interviewing that person or other family members. Encourage students to share their family stories to help them appreciate multiple viewpoints on cultural and historical events and get a feel for stepping into someone else shoes.

Learn More About:

  • How to use Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh as part of teaching the diverse narratives of U.S. history with this educator resource from Lee & Low Books
  • Listening to History, lessons and resources from EDSITEment to help students conduct oral history interviews with family members

For Young Adult Readers

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani (First Second, 2017)
Indian-American Priyanka struggles to fit in at high school and does battle with her mother as she tries to learn more about her family history. With the help of a magical pashmina shawl and a journey to India, she uncovers answers that include some painful truths.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

Priyanka wants to learn more about her family magical pashmina shawl she finds in her mother culture and cultural history play in identity development and contributing to community growth.

Learn More About:

Additional Resources

Read Across America Featured Partner

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is committed to a literate America by inspiring a passion for reading among all children, providing quality content and resources to make an impact, and engaging communities in the solution to give every child the fundamentals for success. With the launch of Literacy Central, RIF

Edcommunities Groups

Collaborate with educators on this topic in the groups below.

Supporting Pre-Service Teachers
Welcome to Supporting Pre-Service Teachers! This group is for educators who work with and support pre-service teachers. Pre-Service and Early Career teachers will also benefit from joining this group. Mentors and cooperating teachers are strongly encouraged to join! Notes of encouragement, sharing of resources, good articles, and venting is welcome too. This group is solutions driven - the goal is to find realistic solutions to support our pre-service and cooperating teachers and address any concerns and questions that come up.

Illinois Education Matters
Illinois Education Matters is a network for all practitioners in education - IEA members and non-members. This effort is designed to serve as a repository for professional development, tools, resources, and information on grants, conferences / workshops, etc. Imagine this as your one stop for all connections. If you have joined our group, please message me - letting me know that you joined. I do not get any information telling me you joined. Our membership is so large, it takes me forever to go through and see our new members. Thanks for your help. You can also join other active groups on edCommunities. Several IEA members are facilitators for edCommunities. Check out and join their groups, if interested. Mary Ann Rivera - Illinois ESPs Mary Jane Morris - Illinois Education Matters IEA Jillian Huber - Integrating Reading and Writing 9th-12th Jim Grimes - Higher Education Amy Kappele - Early Childhood Development & Education

Secondary Literacy
Do you want to inspire your students to think critically, to analyze works, and to use their imaginations on a daily basis? Do you want to explore ways you can integrate reading into writing curricula and writing into reading curricula in your high school classroom? Join us at the Integrating Reading and Writing 9th-12th group to share, explore, and discuss ways for teachers of all content areas to link these two important life skills together in order to help students get the most out of themselves every day.

Our Read Across America Online Store is Open!

Visit to purchase stickers, bookmarks, pencils, mugs, hats & more. We have all you need to create a memorable RAA celebration.


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Download the Read Across America 2017 Recommended Books Poster here (PDF).

Click here to download the 2018-19 Read Across America Resource Calendar and Poster!



Reading Rockets offers a wealth of research-based resources designed to launch young readers. It's for parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Coming in 2019...

National Arts in Education Week
September 8-14, 2019

American Education Week
November 18-22, 2019

Coming in 2020...

NEA's Read Across America Day
Monday, March 2, 2020

National Teacher Day
May 5, 2020

National Teacher Appreciation Week
May 4 - 8, 2020