How Families Can Celebrate Read Across America Day

This Saturday, March 2nd, is Read Across America Day so I wanted to share some reading resources, tips to help your children develop a love of reading, ideas for a Dr. Seuss party, and even an awesome freebie ($40 value)! 

Early literacy has been a cause that’s been really important to me since my college days as an early childhood education major, throughout my years teaching pre-k, and now as a mom. From volunteering to read to children in schools, to hosting book fairs to collect book donations, to sharing about the importance of reading here on this blog, I try to do as much as I can to promote literacy. Since I’ve been celebrating this special day for years I wanted to share ways you can get your family excited about this “holiday” and reading in general. The first annual Read Across America Day was March 2, 1998 and it’s celebrated on the birthday of beloved author Dr. Seuss. The purpose of Read Across America is to motivate children to read because research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.

My boys recently developed a love of reading which makes me so excited because I loved reading as a child (and still do though I don’t have as much time to do so now). While both my boys have learned reading basics they are at very different places in their reading skills. With Lucas, who is a fairly new reader, we are working on retaining more information about what he has read so he is able to answer basic questions about the books. For Jacob, my goal is to find age-appropriate books he will enjoy at his reading level. Just this week he tested at almost a 12th grade reading level but he’s only in 5th grade so many teen books aren’t appropriate for him yet and books that are age-appropriate aren’t challenging enough for him. If anyone has any tips to help either of my boys I’d love for you to share them with me on Twitter or Facebook!

Anyway, let’s get on to the fun! Here are some ideas of how your family can celebrate reading this week and every day:

Throw a Dr. Seuss themed party

There is no better way to celebrate reading than with a party and of course, on Read Across America Day, we celebrate Dr. Seuss so I had to make that the party theme. Get Seussical party ideas here. All the ideas are based on Dr. Seuss books and characters. These Truffula Tree Cupcakes would also be fun to make with the kids.

Make reading fun

Another one of my favorite posts shared ways to encourage reading by making it fun! When I became a mom I vowed that I’d help my kids develop a love of reading like I had when I was a kid but, nowadays, kids just don’t seem to get lost in books like my generation did. I think that part of this is because there are so many distractions vying for their time, whether it’s screens or just busier lives in general. While we can’t eliminate all the distractions that are getting in the way of reading time, we can show them how much fun reading can be to encourage them to become life long readers. Here are some of my ideas to make reading fun:

PICK GOOD BOOKS.

This might seem obvious but kids are more likely to want to read if given books they enjoy (even if they are choosing to read books about superheroes in underwear or wimpy kids with diaries…. ) I’ve found that older kids are drawn to series and books with characters that they can relate to.

MAKE READING A GAME.

I’ve found when I make anything into a game it’s automatically more fun for kids (I can’t be the only parent who discovered that the cleanup “game” could even get children excited to do a boring task like cleaning up their toys!) There are so many ways to turn reading into a game when kids are younger but one of my favorites is to follow the likes of my child’s favorite YouTube stars and play the popular “try not to laugh challenge”. Challenge your kids not to laugh as you read the book out loud in as many silly voices as you can. Then let them take a turn trying to make you laugh!

READ IN NEW PLACES.

Part of the fun of reading is that books transport the reader to new places, whether real or imaginary. Bring that adventure to life by reading together in different places in your home or community. Spend a rainy afternoon reading inside a pillow fort in your living room and enjoy a beautiful fall day outside on a blanket in your backyard or in the shade of a tree at a nearby park. Books don’t just have to be read while sitting on a couch!

BRING THE STORY TO LIFE.

When I was a preschool teacher I found that the best way to get my class excited to read was to get them involved in the story. Whether they acted the book out, did a craft that corresponded with the story, or yelled out the repetitive lines in books like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, they loved participating. Being part of the story is so much more fun than just listening to someone read it. One of my fondest memories of story time was when I was a teacher and had created a giant caterpillar out of posterboard and let the kids in my class take turns “feeding” him pretend play food as I read the story of the Hungry Caterpillar to them.

I share more ideas on how to make reading fun here.

Consider reading apps and programs

While nothing can replace the feel of a physical book, reading apps can be a new way to make reading fun. Our boys LOVE the smartphone app Epic which they were introduced to in school. This app turns reading into a game and encourages them to read for badges with honors like “I read two days in a row” and “I read 50 books”. While nothing can replace the feel of a paper book, I was impressed that this app makes my boys so excited to read that in the past (even when Lucas was reluctant to read) he’d spend hours at a time doing so!

Hooked on Phonics is also a great program for younger children (ages 3-8) and they are offering a freebie in honor of Read Across America Day. HOP is offering their digital app “Learn To Read” year subscription plan for FREE ($40 value; iOS, Android, Amazon, Web) on Friday, March 1st, 2019. To get your freebie go to their landing page hookedonphonics.com/read2019 and put in READ2019 in the promo code area on the HOP website for your free year subscription. (Please note this is ONLY valid on Friday 3/1/19 which is the day before Read Across America Day.)

Other resources:

List of summer reading programs that reward children for reading.

Reading is Fundamental Literacy Central Parent Resource Page

How to make a fun superhero bookmark

My 10 favorite books for preschoolers

25 fun writing activities for kids (that build reading skills as well)

I hope that I have given you ideas to make reading fun for your family that will help you celebrate Read Across America Day. Though March 2nd is the official “reading holiday” I encourage you to spend time reading with your children every day, whether it’s a short book in between errands, an afternoon of reading as you are cuddled together on the couch, or a chapter a night before bed. 

How To Throw A Fun Dr. Seuss Party

Thanks to Party City for sponsoring this post.

A week from today is the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel (also  known as Dr. Seuss). Dr. Seuss wrote over 60 children’s books including favorites like The Cat In The Hat and Green Eggs & Ham. Every year people throw children’s parties around this time to celebrate Dr. Seuss and encourage children to read.

I’ve celebrated this special day over the past years in different ways. When I was a preschool teacher I would have little celebrations with my class where we’d eat a special treat, make a Dr. Seuss craft and read our favorite Dr. Seuss books. When my own kids were younger they had dress up days at school to celebrate Dr. Seuss and I made Cat in the Hat socks.

This year I thought it would be fun to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday by having a small party. If you are looking to have a party of your own, Party City has everything you need to throw a fabulous Dr. Seuss party- from tableware to goodie bags to decor to costume items! Party City sent me a box full of goodies and then I made some Dr. Seuss inspired snacks.

How fun are these Thing 1 and Thing 2 paper cups?!

The plates and napkins all have fun Dr. Seuss designs, too!

Put goldfish and Swedish fish candies in fish bowls for the perfect One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish snack!

I also decorated cupcakes to go with the book. I bought some vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and added blue sprinkles (to look like water) and then topped them with a Swedish fish candy.

These Cat in the Hat dessert cups look like the famous red and white striped hat. To make them I layered strawberry jello and mini marshmallows. You could also layer strawberry jello and whipped cream.

I wanted to add some fruit to the party table so I made these Thing 1 & Thing 2 fruit cups. I cut up fresh strawberries and then topped them with Reddi-Wip that I had mixed with blue food coloring. Though they didn’t turn out exactly how I had envisioned, they are still delicious!

I decided to make another Cat in the Hat snack. These cheese and tomato kabobs are simple to make and look like the cat’s tall hat. I cut string cheese in chunks and put those, along with cherry tomatoes, on a toothpick.

As far as party favors go, Party City has lots of fun choices to fill the goody bags up. My favorites are the pencils and the little notebook because I love goodies that I know my kids are going to use. The themed buttons would be cute on backpacks and the bookmarks are great for those kids who love to read. My boys favorite party favor? The blowouts of course!

I also loved the fun photo props. They are the perfect way to add some silly fun to the party and pictures let kids take home special memories from the party.

What special things do you do to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss with your kids? Get everything you need from Party City here.

Truffula Tree Cupcakes

In preschool classrooms everywhere, the March 2nd birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel {aka Dr. Seuss} is widely celebrated. My family has celebrated in different ways over the years {including DIY Seuss themed socks for Silly Sock day} and there are literally hundreds of ideas on Pinterest.

Target has a fun Seuss themed treat on their blog and they asked me to share it with my readers if I thought you all would be interested. I took one look at how adorable these were and had to share!  These Truffula Tree Cupcakes were created by Courtney Whitmore of Pizzazzerie.

Find the recipe on Target’s blog here.

DIY Cat In The Hat Socks {Silly Sock Day}

(Find more Dr. Seuss ideas here- PARTY, TREATS, and CRAFTS.)

The next two week’s at Jacob’s preschool will be filled with Dr. Seuss inspired activities. Tomorrow is “silly sock day” so I set out to make Cat In The Hat socks.

I grabbed a pair of white socks from his drawer, wrote “CAT” on one and “HAT” on the other, and cut pieces of ribbon to wrap around the tall white sock. I used Glue Dots to stick the two sides of the ribbon together.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Have a bit more time? Check out these ones I found on Amazon (affiliate):

Dr. Seuss Themed Treats

Here’s part 2 of the Dr. Seuss themed ideas- the FOOD! (See part 1- crafts and activities here)

Click on pictures to be taken to the posts they come from. (Find Dr. Seuss themed crafts and activities here.)

Love these cake pops

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Fruit :)

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Thing 1 & Thing 2 cupcakes {Love what she used to make the hair!}

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Green eggs & ham

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Fun snack for the kids

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“Oh The Places You’ll Go” pancakes

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She gives step by step instructions to make these!

Get more Dr. Seuss party ideas here:

http://www.makingtimeformommy.com/2017/02/23/how-to-throw-a-fun-dr-seuss-party/

 

Dr. Seuss Themed Crafts & Activities

In less than one week we will be celebrating Dr.  Seuss’ birthday. Here are some fabulous Dr. Seuss ideas I found online {click the pictures to be taken to the posts they come from}.

Find Dr. Seuss themed FOOD here.

“Are You My Mother” activity

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Dr. Seuss book cover bowling

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This playdough looks like the hat!

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Cute handprint craft

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Fun Learning Activity

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30 pages of FREE printables for preschoolers!

Here’s a fun book collection for your little Dr. Suess fans!

(affiliate link)

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Get more Dr. Seuss party ideas here!

http://www.makingtimeformommy.com/2017/02/23/how-to-throw-a-fun-dr-seuss-party/

Find Dr. Seuss Themed treats here:

http://www.makingtimeformommy.com/2012/02/25/dr-seuss-themed-treats/