March 2nd marks the National Education Association’s (NEA) 18th Annual Read Across America Day. The NEA is committed to motivating children and teens to read through various events, activities, and creative reading resources. Many schools, libraries, and community centers across the United States participate in Read Across America Day by bringing people of all ages together to read.
While March 2nd may be the official Read Across America Day, families can make this fun celebration last longer than just one day. Here are 5 ideas to get your family excited about the amazing world of books.
Tip #1: Start a Family Book Club
Kick off Reading Across America Day by starting your own family book club. Choose a book to be read by the entire family, and set guidelines about how many chapters a week you’ll all read. Be sure to choose age-appropriate books.
Then, pick a date to have pizza or a favorite family meal, and share what you liked and disliked about the book. Maybe discuss how much you relate to the main characters, or how much you enjoy the era the story is set in. This creates a great way for parents to connect with their kids through reading.
Tip #2: Pick a Family-Centered Book and Read a Few Chapters Aloud Each Evening
Make popcorn or hot cocoa and get cozy. Books really come alive when read aloud. This is another wonderful opportunity to engage with your kids and make reading magical and exciting—particularly if you have kids who aren’t too fond of reading.
Tip #3: Dress Up Like a Favorite Book Character
Surprise your kids one day and dress up like one of their favorite book characters. Serve a themed meal based on something relevant to this character and make the conversation about all things literary.
Be sure to hit your local library that day, too, so your kids can check out a new book or two.
Tip #4: Read in a New Place
Create some adventure in your family’s literary world by heading out of the house to do some reading on a regular basis.
In warmer weather, you can hit the park, the beach, or even read by lanterns under the stars. On cooler days, you don’t have to limit yourself to the house—head to your local bookstore and let the kids get comfy in the children’s section. Maybe go to a coffee shop and let them get a hot cocoa and a donut while they read. You could even head over to a grandparent’s house where Grandma and Grandpa might enjoy reading along or to the kids.
By promoting new places to read, kids will get into the habit of having a good book with them whenever they leave the house.
Tip #5: Attend a Local Book Signing or Author Event
Look for author events at your local library or book store that might cater to your kids’ ages and interests. This is a fun opportunity for kids to interact with an author and get a signed copy of a book for their personal library. It might even stir the writing bug inside your child once they have the chance to hear from an author firsthand about the creative ins and outs of writing.