Outstanding Kid-Approved Books for ‘Read Across America’ Day
In 1954, William Spaulding, a director at Houghton Mifflin publishing, gave author Theodor Seuss Geisel a challenge. “Write me a story that first-graders can’t put down!” he instructed.
Spaulding was weary of the traditional reading primers at the time, like the Dick and Jane series, which he thought lacked imagination and failed to hold kids’ interest. And so, a year and half later, Geisel wrote The Cat in the Hat under his pen name, Dr. Seuss. This creative and engaging children’s book was an instant success when it published in 1957, and it led to many more popular books by Seuss published in the “Beginner Books” series he helped create.
As Dr. Seuss proved back in 1957, it just takes one book to spark the love of reading in a child (or adult)—one well-written, captivating book. And when kids begin to love reading, they’ll enjoy the numerous benefits that come with being a good reader, including improved language skills, imagination, empathy, and focus.
Celebrate Read Across America with a New Favorite Book
Recognizing the importance of reading, the National Education Association (NEA) established Read Across America, which is appropriately celebrated every year on March 2, Dr. Seuss’s birthday. It’s a chance to celebrate the joy of reading and to motivate students to read.
If your child isn’t yet motivated to pick up a book and read, it may be because they haven’t found the right book yet—that one enticing book that pulls them into the world of reading. Introduce your child to some “must-read” children’s books that will engage their mind and imagination and see how it changes their attitude about reading.
Not sure where to start? We asked K12 students across the country to name their favorite book and explain why they love it. See which books are their favorites.
More Book Suggestions for Kids
Keep the books coming for your kids. The more they read, the better they will get at reading. Here are some more resources for finding books that will entertain and educate your child.
- NEA Read Across America Collection, 2018–2019
- Read Across America Books for Black History Month
- Read Across America Women’s History Month Books
- NEA’s Educators Recommended Books for Kids
- 5 Best Kids’ Books Parents Say Are ‘Must-Reads’
- K12’s Expert Recommended Reading List for Kids
- 12 Underrated Dr. Seuss Books You Need to Read
- New Dr. Seuss Book Contains Important Lesson for Kids
- New Endings to Classic Books
Activities and Resources for Read Across America
Read Across America can be fun for kids and parents. From dressing up as a Dr. Seuss character to making your version of green eggs and ham, you can get the whole family involved in this reading celebration. Here’s some links to some of the best ideas.
- NEA’s Read Across America Activity Ideas
- Read Across America Costume Ideas
- Scholastic’s Read Across America Activity Ideas
“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” Dr. Seuss
Elizabeth Street is a writer and managing editor for Learning Liftoff. For the past 20 years, she has written newsletter and website content for nonprofit and corporate organizations on such topics as the plight of children of prisoners worldwide, the lack of prenatal care for mothers in developing countries, and child mentoring programs. She has a particular interest in the importance of providing all children with a quality education regardless of their family’s financial status or background. A native of Virginia, Elizabeth is a graduate of James Madison University and loves animals, with particular fondness for her two cats, Oscar and Emmy.
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