In Focus: Read Across America
by Kathleen Carpenter, Contributing Editor
NEA's Read Across America: March 2
Teachers.Net + NEA + Caring Adults (YOU) + Kids + Books = Read Across America
Teachers.Net joins the National Education Association in again calling for "every child to be reading in the company of a caring adult" on March 2, 2001, Read Across America Day. In support of that effort, Teachers.Net offers a Read Across America chatboard at http://www.teachers.net/mentors/raa/ and a mailring http://teachers.net/mailrings dedicated to discussion about ways to make Read Across America Day 2001 the most effective to date.
Read Across America Day is celebrated annually on March 2, the birth date of popular and prolific children's author Dr. Seuss. Instituted by NEA in 1998 and billed as the largest celebration of reading this country has ever seen, the event drew participation by roughly ten million children and adults in its first year, and twice that in 1999. NEA offers a compilation of links to reading research, news and activities on their Read Across and Reading Matters sites at http://www.nea.org/readacross/ and http://www.nea.org/readingmatters.
As an educator you can serve as the "caring adult" who makes Read Across America 2001 special for many children. Simply make use of the various forums available through Teachers.Net and NEA in order to gather and plan special activities in your school and community. Colleagues from all over the world have posted about activities they have used in the past, allowing you to benefit from their experiences. Surely your ideas will be welcomed by others.
Of course, the goal of Read Across America Day is not to encourage reading on only one day each year, it is an effort to encourage the development of the habit of reading. Consider reaching out to parents and older students with the following as a way to impress upon them the importance and cumulative effects of daily reading.
"Why Can't I Skip My Twenty Minutes of Reading Tonight?" Let's figure it out -- mathematically!
Student A reads 20 minutes five nights of every week.
Student B reads only 4 minutes a night...or not at all!
Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week.
Student A reads 20 min. x 5 times a week = 100 min./week.
Student B reads 4 minutes x 5 times a week = 20 minutes
Step 2: Multiply minutes a week x 4 weeks each month.
Student A reads 400 minutes a month.
Student B reads 80 minutes a month.
Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year.
Student A reads 3600 min. in a school year.
Student B reads 720 min. in a school year.
Student A practices reading the equivalent of ten whole school days a year.
Student B gets the equivalent of only two school days of reading practice.
By the end of 6th grade if Student A and Student B maintain these same reading habits, Student A will have read the equivalent of 60 whole school days Student B will have read the equivalent of only 12 school days.
One would expect the gap of information retained will have widened considerably and so, undoubtedly, will school performance. How do you think Student B will feel about him/herself as a student?
Some questions to ponder:
Which student would you expect to read better?
Which student would you expect to know more?
Which student would you expect to write better?
Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary?
Which student would you expect to be more successful in school....and in life?
Why Read 30 Minutes a Day?
If daily reading begins in infancy, by the time the child is five years old, he or she has been fed roughly 900 hours of brain food!
Reduce that experience to just 30 minutes a week and the child's hungry mind loses 770 hours of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and stories.
A kindergarten student who has not been read aloud to could enter school with less than 60 hours of literacy nutrition. No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours of mental nourishment.
30 minutes daily: 900 hours
30 minutes weekly: 130 hours
Less than 30 minutes weekly: 60 hours
[Source: U.S. Dept. of Education, America Reads Challenge http://www.ed.gov/americareads/ . (1999) "Start Early, Finish Strong: How to Help Every Child Become a Reader." Washington, D.C.]
Read Across America Resources...
Teachers.Net offers a Read Across America chatboard at http://www.teachers.net/mentors/raa/ and a mailring http://teachers.net/mailrings dedicated to discussion about ways to make Read Across America Day 2001 the most effective to date. The NEA offers a compilation of links to reading research, news and activities on their Read Across and Reading Matters sites at http://www.nea.org/readacross/ and http://www.nea.org/readingmatters.
Bookmark the Read Across America Chatboard.