Celebrating Read Across America Day!

“One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish,” I think to myself as I reflect on the first time I heard those nostalgic words. I would be willing to bet that most people can recall reading a book by Dr.Seuss or having it read to them as a child.

Read Across America Day marks Dr.Seuss’s birthday and encourages children to read and be read to—both at school and at home. Reading is fundamental and provides kids with cool opportunities to use their imaginations. In fact, statistics show that reading to children “is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills; it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory.”

Kids love learning new things. The developing brain is constantly gaining new knowledge that forms the basis for future behavior and decisions. In fact, psychologists call this the “critical period” or the time in human development when behavior is shaped for life. During this period, , kids can easily learn and retain new facts. With this in mind, parents can read to kids while they are young to set the foundation for a passion for reading and learning new things as they grow.

Across the nation, many schools, libraries, and community centers celebrate this day by bringing kids and books together in a unique way. I vividly remember my third-grade teacher reading Green Eggs and Ham to our class full of bug eyed kids eager to hear more. My teacher brought the story to life through her voice and eyes, drawing us in to Sam and all the many places he wouldn’t dare eat green eggs and ham. Perhaps the most memorable part of that day was when we made green eggs and ham which truly made the experience unforgettable.

As parents, Read Across America Day is a great opportunity to spend quality time with your kids through reading. Kids seem to grow up right before their parents’ eyes and before you know it, they turn into young adults leaving for college. Early conversations about the importance of reading can set the foundation for future conversations about more serious topics like alcohol responsibility.

So today, take the time to create memories that will last a lifetime by reading with your kids (and maybe even making Green eggs and ham for breakfast!). And tomorrow, have a conversation about what you did today. And the next day, start yet another conversation. You will find that these conversations—just like reading to your kids—will become habits that are easy and fun to keep up.