March is drawing to a close, but it is never too late to celebrate National Reading Month. Everywhere, readers and booksellers and librarians and others are collaborating to encourage students and families to read together.
The National Education Association, for example, champions the idea with their Read Across America program, promoting reading at every age, particularly among our youngest students.
As well, the National Head Start Association is partnering with actor Taye Diggs to promote reading in classrooms and beyond, with titles that promote both literacy and diversity. Featured books include “Chocolate Me” and “Mixed Me.” A host of possible activities to accompany the reading can be found at the group’s website www.nhsa.org.
Because reading success is now the law in Michigan, with third graders expected to read at grade level or be held back, local organizations and businesses are also getting involved. The Petoskey News Review is collaborating with McLean and Eakin Booksellers to put books in the hands of second graders and other elementary students.
Second grade students from area schools are in line to receive books, donated by the combined efforts of the Petoskey News Review’s Education Committee and the bookstore. Research shows that a home library is a strong indication of early reading success, and with the law set to impact this year’s third grade class.
School districts are required to implement reading remediation programs for struggling readers, so the McLean and Eakin/News Review partnership allows local schools additional outside support toward this goal.
McLean and Eakin of course are longtime supporters of local schools, regularly donating books in support of reading instruction, as well as recreational reading.
At the Petoskey Public Library, parents can get a head start on early reading by signing up for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, not necessarily a March only activity, but one that nonetheless encourages reading to your child. Children and parents earn prizes and accolades by hitting the halfway mark, as well as a special spot on the library’s Wall of Fame for making it all the way.
Across Little Traverse Bay, the Harbor Springs Festival of the Book also strives to support students with their Books For Schools program. Last year the organization donated more than 1,200 books to area schools, while also providing presentations from visiting authors during the September event. Festival organizers, working with staff from Between The Covers, are gearing up for even more books in classrooms during this year’s event.
Locally, regionally, and nationally, organizations of all shapes and sizes are helping to keep a focus on reading, especially with young students, so while March might announce the coming of spring, just as importantly, whether in a bookstore, a library, a school, or your living room, it is always a good time to celebrate National Reading Month.