Monday, March 3, 2008

Read Across America Day

The first Monday in March is the NEA's Read Across America Day; the day is chosen to be the Monday closest to Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2. The day is sponsored (created) by the NEA as a way to encourage kids to read more (and therefore do better in school). All this is very nice, but some of the ideas floating around out there for teachers to use in celebrating the day are a little dubious. One site has this lesson: "Contact your local McDonalds about the possibility of your students designing tray mats for them based on the Read Across America theme. McDonalds already has mats they place in the trays so ask for these and have your students create their masterpieces on the flip side!" This is bad enough if McDonalds suggested it; if not, it is even worse. Let's use Dr. Seuss, who speaks for the trees, to encourage kids to go to McDonalds more. Right. Why can't kids just use a blank piece of paper to make a place mat to use during dinner at home that night?

The NEA site has a nice list of kids' books that pertain to the 50 states, so you could have a lot of fun reading your way across America - just not in one day. My favorite "across America" book is Steinbeck's Travels with Charley, which is more fun to read than most of his books.

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