Create a Reading Event
The following is a simple scenario for elementary or middle school teachers who want to conduct an NEA's Read Across America event in their classroom. This is by far the most typical celebration and can be easily adapted to other situations.
- Consult your principal and obtain approvals. In our experience, principals love NEA's Read Across America. Most will not only support your efforts, they will become actively involved. If your principal hasn't heard of the program, refer him or her to this web site.
- Look at your school's calendar and choose a date to celebrate. The official day is March 2, 2016. If this conflicts with another event, feel free to pick a different day. Some schools celebrate the week before or after. Talk to your principal and check your school calendar as early as possible to avoid any last minute problems.
- Read our copyright and licensing arrangements. It's important to honor our agreements with Dr. Seuss Enterprises in order to maintain our special relationship.
- Consult with your school librarian. It's likely that he or she is already familiar with Read Across America and may have ideas to offer. Reserve books in advance—there may be a run on Dr. Seuss titles!
- Ask other teachers if they are making plans. Consider coordinating your efforts for a school-wide event.
- Invite guest readers to come to your class on March 2 and read to your students. By far, this is the most popular activity. There is something powerful about a policeman, firefighter, mayor, radio personality, pastor, high school quarterback, or grandmother sharing their love for reading. Be sure and ask your guests to talk about why reading is important in their lives, and about their favorite books when they were kids. Afterwards, have your students write thank-you notes.
- Make arrangements for a birthday cake, if resources allow. You might want to have it decorated with "Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss." If funds are short, ask if any parents are enthusiastic bakers. Easy alternatives are cupcakes or cookies. Add fruit punch or juice for a beverage.
- Get some hats! Everyone wants the famous Cat in the Hat hat, available at discount from our Cat-alog, or make your own from red and white construction paper. A 39 oz. coffee can has a good diameter for the crown, and you can trace a large dinner plate for the brim. This makes a fun class project. There is also a pattern from "Craft Elf" at www.craftelf.com/Craft_elf_sewing_felt_top_hat_sewing_instructions.htm that uses red and white felt; perhaps a parent volunteer would be willing to make these for your class.
- Reproduce Certificates of Participation and Appreciation. Children love receiving tangible acknowledgement of their efforts, and your adult helpers will appreciate being thanked. You can download a pre-designed certificate from our Materials area, plus other fun things.
- Send information home to parents, along with parent reading tips. Some parents may offer to help, and a few may volunteer to be guest readers.
- Let the world know about your plans by taking the Pledge to Participate.
- If you're an NEA member, contact your Local Association and let them know about your plans. They may offer ideas and support.
- Explore this site fully for ideas and resources. There is a lot of information that will be useful if you want to expand on the basics.
- Put on your hats for the big day! Enjoy your guest readers. Eat birthday cake, drink punch, and don't forget to sing "Happy Birthday" to Dr. Seuss. Read, read, read, and have fun!