Grab Your Hat!

It’s time to grab your red-and-white striped hat and pick out your favorite children’s book, because National Read Across America Day is right around the corner!

I couldn’t be more excited to tell you about this fantastic day because, as I might have mentioned once or twice, I absolutely love to read.

On March 2, kids and adults in classrooms far and near will celebrate the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss by reading books like Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and a host of other great stories that have helped launch a life-long love of reading in people of all ages. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of National Read Across America Day, which was started by the National Education Association (NEA) to help encourage a love of reading among kids and teens around the country and around the world! As the NEA says, “You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.”

So let’s get ready, grab our hats and go! The classrooms are waiting so don’t be slow. Reading is fun and really quite cool. Just ask kids who read; they’re nobody’s fool.

On March 2, I’m hoping you’ll participate in Read Across America at home by declaring your household’s independence from electronic computer games, social media, and even Netflix and Hulu–for at least an hour–to show your kids how fun books can be. Read with them. Read to them. Show them why you love to read. Who knows? You may choose to make this electronic-free time a habit.

So here we go, read along with me the NEA’s Declaration of Reading Independence:

We hold this truth to be self-evident that all children have the right to read. If we don’t secure this right, too many of our children are likely to lead lives of quiet, or not so quiet, despair.

To secure this right, every adult has a role to play. As people who teach America’s children, we will craft our lessons carefully. As parents, we will show our children a quieter, more meaningful way. As members of the American family, we will care for other people’s children as our own.

On this day of fireworks and fun, we pause to dream together. We dream of a day when all children know their ABCs before they come to school. We dream of a day when all third graders are reading to learn rather than learning to read. We dream of a day when every American teenager knows the joy of being swept away by the powerful prose of a good book.

And so, we the people who teach America’s children do solemnly swear that we will not rest until our children are the best readers in the world. As a first step toward this goal, we hereby commit to celebrate reading March 2nd, the birthday of Dr. Seuss, the man whose poetry and play has led so many children to reading independence.

--By Anita Merin

If you’d like more information about National Read Across America Day, visit our website ( and select the Community Support tab. Then click on Ukiah Reads and you’ll be directed to a page with a link called Read Across America Brochure. You can also learn more at under the Events tab, or by visiting the Read Across America Facebook page at

I believe that kids who read are kids who will be successful; successful in school, successful in their careers, and successful in life. And I believe it’s up to us—those who love to read—to care enough to teach others. As Dr. Seuss says, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

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