Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Educators Prepare to Spread the “Good News” about Reading

Monday, March 2, 2009, Dr. Seuss’ birthday, will mark the twelfth year of NEA’s Read Across America, an event that in our “online” society has become “viral” in its own right. The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) is planning a kick-off event on March 2.

It will be a fun-filled morning at Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta located across from Olympic Centennial Park from 11 am to 1pm. The event will feature a Read-A-Thon that consists of three to four “reading stations” throughout the museum. The children (up to age eight) will move from station to station listening to “celebrity” readers. Some of those readers at this point are volunteers from Georgia Shakespeare, Ms. Rickey Bevington, host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s (GPB) Georgia Gazette, and Nwandi Lawson, co-anchor of GPB’s LawMakers. Visit www.imagineit-cma.org for admission prices and directions.

The idea that began in 1996 with a “Green Eggs and Ham” read-in, has become an annual national testament to the written word. Just as over the past 11 years, the GAE, the state sponsor of the event, expects thousands of Georgians -- boys and girls, men and women (maybe even a few pets here and there) – to don the familiar red and white striped, stove-piped hats that signal the annual effort aimed at reminding everyone of the critical importance of reading to children.

“In this age of MySpace and Facebook, any effort to remind adults and young children of the importance of regularly picking up a book feels even more critical," said GAE President Jeff Hubbard. “There is no doubt that if given the opportunity, our young people would literally live online. While that’s one reality we live in today, another reality is that a strong foundation in reading still provides the best chance for success in academics and life.”

“I get more excited about this event every year,” Hubbard exclaimed. “So many individuals and organizations continue to join this meaningful effort. Together they make each successive year more successful than the last, and I’d like to thank every participant on behalf of Georgia’s children. Our lofty goal is still to have every child in Georgia read a book that day.”

GAE sources say you can get involved by contacting your local public library or school to see if they have a need for readers. Events’ partners such as the Georgia Library Association, Georgia Public Library Service, and Barnes and Noble Bookstores also have events scheduled around that time. GAE, in conjunction with the Georgia Public Library Service, has produced a pamphlet entitled “The Parent’s Guide to Read Across America.” The pamphlet contains information on the event and reading tips and resources for parents. The pamphlet can be picked up at your local Georgia public library.

Note that the simplest way to get involved is to take time to read to, and with, a child in your life and try to make it a regular part of your daily routine.

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