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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Read across America - and for a lifetime

February 26, 2010

Celebrate the 105th birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel (much better known as Dr. Seuss) on March 2nd, with a favorite book or two, some children, and a welcoming place to read aloud.

The Read Across America celebration would have pleased Dr. Seuss a great deal I think. After all, he is credited with making books for beginning readers funny, fast-paced, and pleasing to children

I recently read that John Grisham, popular author of adult books (I'm a Grisham fan admittedly) joins adult bestselling novelist James Patterson (and others) in writing for young readers.

Why? Seems simple to me. They're writing so that they have a future audience for their adult books.

But it begins so much earlier. The love of reading starts when children are very young. They do what the significant adults in their lives do not what they say.

That's why Read Across America can be a powerful tool. It focuses on adults reading to children on one special day but it's an activity that can be easily repeated everyday.

It also reminds adults that reading to children is fun — and with their short attention spans, adults need constant reminders. (If you think young children have short attention spans, watch a child playing a game of "peek-a-boo" with an adult and notice who tires of it first.)

There are lots of book recommendations. Try the lists on Reading Rockets or from Read Aloud America. (There's plenty of overlap — a good book with rich language screams to be shared aloud.) If you don't like reading aloud, try an audio book.

But let's join Grisham and Patterson in making certain we have lifelong learners by encouraging reading today and everyday.

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"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." — Emilie Buchwald