March 2 is Read Across America Day, a day to celebrate our favorite activity. The day was established by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998 to help get kids excited about reading. The day occurs each year on the birthday of beloved children’s book author Dr. Seuss, so a perfect way to celebrate is to don a Seussian hat and read one his famous tales, like One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. On National Read Across America Day, students, teachers, parents, and community members around the nation come together to read books and celebrate the joy of reading — join us!
When is Read Across America Day 2024?
National Read Across America Day is on March 2. It’s a day to celebrate the privilege of being able to read, so head to the library, or curl up on the couch and just be a bookworm!
History of Read Across America Day
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”- Dr. Seuss
Every year, the month of March is National Reading Month. The start of this is initiated with ‘Read Across America Day’ on March 2, which is also the birthday of one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time — Dr. Seuss. Reading stories and antics about his wonderful characters is a rite of passage, and the perfect way to get children interested in reading books.
Read Across America Day is more so a reading program, which calls upon everyone to read and engage with children to make reading a more fun and interactive experience. From the time when the building blocks of our character are laid, to adulthood when we seek to escape from the humdrum of daily life in the pages of a book, reading plays an integral role in shaping us into who we are. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, it is more essential than ever to motivate children to read.
The National Education Association (NEA) has been leading the Read Across America initiative since 1998. Their primary purpose is to work for the betterment of public education. Reading has been promoted across the nation with events organized in libraries, schools, book clubs, and communities. Teachers and group organizers can also take a pledge and post their idea on the NEA’s website. This way, more attention and attendance is drawn to the event.
But it is not only teachers and librarians who are doing their part in creating another generation of readers, but celebrities as well. Ever since the day has been official, actors, sports stars, and other popular figures have used their platforms to spread the message of the joys of reading, and some have also participated in children reading circles to put a spotlight on this cause.
Read Across America Day timeline
Theodor Seuss Geissel is born in Springfield, Massachusetts into a prosperous extended family.
The initiative is established by the National Education Association (NEA)
Michelle Obama participates in the Read Across America Day campaign at the Library of Congress.
Uma Thurman, Keri Russell, and Mark Ruffalo help launch the Read Across America program at the New York Public Library.
Traditions of the Day
National Read Across America Day falls on the same day as the birthday of children’s book author Dr. Seuss so, naturally, it is a tradition to read his storybooks on this day. Parents, teachers, students, and members of society all come together to celebrate the joys of reading and to encourage it to become a habit for children.
Reading parties are hosted at homes, schools, and libraries. Local persons of interest or celebrities are sometimes present at these events. Alongside reading, tasty treats are served, mostly from books that are going to be read out on the day (like a variation of green eggs and ham). Book clubs are also started on this day to continue the reading tradition after the day is over. It is a great way for parents and children to socialize and share ideas and their favorite books.
By the Numbers
1,207,937 – the number of reading sessions started on Bookly in the past year.
8.27 – the number of books per person by which book sales fell in 2001.
359,803 – the number of books and e-books added on Bookly between 2019 and 2020.
16,555 – the number of audiobooks added on Bookly between 2019 and 2020.
909,394 – the number of reading sessions started by female users on Bookly between 2019 and 2020.
350,485 – the number of reading sessions started by male users on Bookly between 2019 and 2020.
25–34 – the ages between which the most books are read.
80 million – the number of active users on popular book site Goodreads.
24% – the percentage of American adults who have not read a book in 2018.
6 – the number of books by Dr. Seuss that rank among the top 20 bestselling children’s books of all time.
Read Across America Day Activities
Make a date with a book
When you have a good book, you’re never alone. Celebrate National Read Across America day by taking your favorite book for a coffee, glass of wine, or even out to dinner. Sit at the bar or at a table for two and get lost in your book while out in public.
Go to a reading
Groups around the country host readings on National Read Across America day. Check out what your local libraries and bookstores have on offer, and if you have kids, see what their schools are planning. Some events may be looking for volunteers to read out loud to kids — what a treat (and a gift).
Have a birthday party for Dr. Seuss
Invite friends over to celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading! Have Seuss-themed snacks — butter-side down toast, green eggs and ham — and have friends read selections from their favorite Seuss books.
5 Facts About Reading That Will Blow Your Mind
Reading is a great stress reliever
Studies show that reading reduces stress by 68%.
Reading isn’t everyone’s strongpoint
An estimated 40% of students are considered poor readers.
It all adds up
Reading just 20 minutes a day adds up to reading 1,800,000 words per year.
The fastest way to build vocabulary
Children learn 4,000–12,000 words every year by reading.
Classroom libraries create bookworms
Kids in classrooms without mini-libraries read 50% less than kids with classroom libraries.
Why We Love Read Across America Day
Reading is exciting
Reading takes us to exciting new places, enchanted lands, and even faraway galaxies. When we read, we can be detectives, explorers, and heroes. Ever stayed up late to finish a book by flashlight under your covers? Or missed your bus stop because you were so engrossed in a chapter? Reading adds excitement to our lives!
Reading makes us smarter
Did you know that reading actually increases your brain power? It’s true! Regular reading can slow the decline of memory and brain function that comes with age. And of course, as Dr. Seuss says, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
Reading is relaxing
Even reading for just six minutes can reduce stress, according to research. In fact, reading is more calming than listening to music or going on a walk! Curling up with a good book and cup of tea (or another favorite beverage) is one of life’s great joys — and relaxers.
Read Across America Day dates