If you’re a reading teacher, or a Reading Specialist, you look forward to Read Across America Week every year. If I had it my way, reading would be (and should be) celebrated during every week of the year across America, but even having one extra-special week dedicated to all things literacy makes my reading-heart happy.
We all know that Read Across America Week is typically always Seuss-related and filled with craftivities, books, and lessons revolving around Dr. Seuss. I’m not saying you should stop all of your Seuss-tivities this Read Across America Week (well, maybe I am) but I’m saying that you should most definitely be open to other options outside of Seuss, for a few reasons.
- If you haven’t heard some of the not-so-great history about the man behind The Cat in the Hat, Google it. What you find may make you want to change some of your plans, too.
- THERE ARE SO MANY AMAZING, POWERFUL, EXCITING, DIVERSE, EMPOWERING BOOKS TO CHOOSE FROM TO CELEBRATE READING! Don’t limit yourself to using just one author or genre or writing style as you celebrate.
- Your students deserve exposure to a variety of texts all the time, but especially during a week that is dedicated to all things reading.
To get our school excited about Read Across America Week, this February, my fellow Reading Specialist and I decided to create some fun literacy initiatives and hallway displays to encourage the love of reading from Kindergarten to grade five. Here is how one of those initiatives turned out:
100 Reasons Why We Love to Read
This colorful display is probably one of my favorites that we’ve created, and even more exciting, it’s definitely been the easiest one!
How to recreate:
- Use a die-cut machine to cut out different colored hearts for each classroom in your school (or specific grade levels)
- Print out a giant clip art photo of an open book (Google-search, people!)
- Select 100 (or more) of the best responses about the love of reading
- Arrange the hearts in rainbow order – make the hearts in the first tier of the rainbow closer together and gradually begin separating the distance between the hearts
- Glue/tape on wall + viola!
We also knew that we wanted to create an agenda for Read Across America Week that had a meaningful theme and, as I mentioned above, incorporated a variety of texts that students would love. We decided on a theme that celebrates readers as leaders, and found five diverse mentor texts with strong main characters for our week of reading.
Here’s an example of our agenda:
The best part? The students still get to celebrate, dress-up, and interact with books all week without the typical “Wacky Wednesday” that they are used to seeing every year. Also, all of these texts were selected because they are also available to be read aloud online on YouTube or on Storyline Online!
- Catching the Moon: http://www.storylineonline.net/books/catching-the-moon-the-story-of-a-young-girls-baseball-dream/
- Thank You, Mr. Falker: http://www.storylineonline.net/books/thank-you-mr-falker/
- Amazing Grace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag-f4w7MIs8
- As Fast as Words Could Fly: http://www.storylineonline.net/books/fast-words-fly/
- We’re All Wonders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8j8qaTIN38
I’d love to hear what you and your school are doing to celebrate Read Across America Week! Feel free to share!