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 has partnered in the past, 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, local organizations and businesses have also gotten involved. The Petoskey News Review has collaborated with McLean and Eakin Booksellers to put books in the hands of second graders and other elementary students.
Second-grade students from area schools have received 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.
School districts are required to implement reading remediation programs for struggling readers, so the partnership between local book stores, like McLean and Eakin, who are longtime supporters of local schools and regularly donate books, has allowed schools additional outside support toward this goal.
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. The organization has been known for donating more than 1,200 books to area schools, while also providing presentations from visiting authors during their September event. Festival organizers, working with staff from Between The Covers, are gearing up to provide even more books in the classrooms in years to come.
Locally, regionally, and nationally, organizations of all shapes and sizes are helping to keep a focus on reading, especially with young students. While March might be the official month to celebrate National Reading, it is always a good time to read, learn and enjoy a good book.