By Eduardo Barraza
February 27, 2017
(Gilbert, Arizona) -- For 20 years, a national effort has brought together children and books to encourage reading in the United States.
The idea of celebrating reading at a national level began to take shape in 1997, when a task force at the National Education Association (NEA) came together to think about ways to promote reading among children.
The following year, on March 2, the NAE celebrated the first Read Across America event.
The motivational force behind Read Across America is based on research that shows children perform better in school when they spend time reading.
Therefore, Read Across America promotes making books an integral part of children’s lives, since reading boost kids’ learning potential.
Since its inception, Read Across America encouraged schools, teachers and students to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of children's author Theodor Seuss Geisel, best known by his pen name of Dr. Seuss.
Seuss was an American writer, cartoonist, animator, and book publisher. He published over 60 books throughout his career.
In addition to weeklong Read Across America events, the NEA offers children and families a number of resources and activities to promote reading throughout the year.
Gilbert Public Schools takes part of the Read Across America week, observed this year from February 27 to March 3.
Printed books dominate the book-reading landscape
As the amount and variety of content available has enormously increased with the proliferation of digital mobile devices, there is something that remains largely unchanged since 2012: the percentage of Americans who read a book every year.
Statistics published by the Pew Research Center in September 2016 show interesting facts about book reading in the United States.
Pew’s report “Book reading in 2016” –based on a national survey– reveals that 73 percent of Americans read a book in 2015.
Perhaps a bit surprising in our digital era is another fact, highlighted in the report: people who read books are much more likely to reach for a traditional print book than a digital one. Nevertheless, the popularity of e-books continues to grow.
The study indicates that 65 percent of Americans read a print book, more than double the share of people who read an e-book, 28 percent.