In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss (1954), “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” And even the smallest of us all deserve the magic and escape that books can provide. Each year, the National Education Association (NEA) promotes Read Across America Day to inspire young readers to partake in the joy of reading. On the second of March, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, you’ll see actors, politicians, teachers, librarians, and people from all walks of life pull out their favorite Dr. Seuss story and share the delight of the words within with children of all ages.
The History of Read Across America
The Read Across America campaign actually seeks to encourage children to read year-round, something that we at Frostbeard strive towards as well. The literary holiday was first conceived in May of 1997 by a small reading task force at the NEA. Their thought was simple; if we can hold pep rallies to get kids excited about sports, surely we can do the same for reading? Another layer was added to the idea when the group proposed holding this new scholarly celebration on Dr. Seuss’s birthday. And so it was, on March 2nd, 1998, that the inaugural Read Across America Day was held in schools big and small around the U.S.
The goal of Read Across America Day has always been to encourage students to read throughout the year. Read Across America Day serves as the springboard for numerous reading programs around the country. Local libraries, animal shelters, hospitals, and communities use Read Across America Day as a starting point for many of their reading or enrichment programs. And our home town of Minneapolis (one of the most literate cities in the country) is no exception. You can find a list of Minneapolis Read Across America Day events on the NEA website. You can also use the link to search events in your own home state.
Books To Read With Young Readers
While Read Across America Day is on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, there’s no rule that says that you have to stick to the Dr. Seuss books. For our list of recommendations, we’ve decided to use the Scholastic reading level chart, which can be read about in more detail here. Of course, each child is different; so don’t feel the need to stay within the grade levels outlined below.
Whether your child has “outgrown” Dr. Seuss's wacky works of fiction, or you’re looking for a new way to jumpstart your children’s reading for the year, here are some books that we recommend for young readers.
A Bad Case of Stripes
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Frog!
Everything Dr. Seuss
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
The Giving Tree
First Grade Books
The Rainbow Fish
Are You My Mother
Where the Wild Things Are
The Junie B. Jones Series
Henry’s Freedom Box
Second Grade Books
The Magic Tree House Series
Amelia Bedelia Series
The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids Series
Ready, Freddy! Series
Third Grade Books
Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Series
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Fourth Grade Books
The Saddle Club Series
The Phantom Tollbooth
The Harry Potter Series
Little House on the Prairie
Fifth Grade Books
Island of the Blue Dolphins
The Black Stallion
The Doll People
Sixth Grade Books
The Chronicles of Narnia Series
Number the Stars
The Heroes of Olympus Series
Wings of Fire Series
More Than Just a Book
For children, time spent with ones they love or admire; be it grandparents, teachers, parents, or guardians, leaves an impression that will last a lifetime. When Scholastic partnered with YouGov, they found that 72% of children ages 6-11 love read-aloud time with a parent because they view it as a special time together.
In the same poll, when researchers asked what books were the children’s favorite the top five were:
- Harry Potter
- Dr. Seuss
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid
- Magic Tree House
- The Chronicles of Narnia
Harry Potter was actually a pretty common title to come up throughout the survey. Research showed that parents under 35 were more likely to have read Harry Potter than other parents, and about 4 in 10 children between the ages of 6-17 had read Harry Potter. These wizarding novels seem to be conjuring a lot more than patronuses.
But it doesn’t matter if you read Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, or anything else. The simple act of reading with your child is doing the pair of you a world of good. At Frostbeard, we strive to inspire people to read, because reading is cool! Our hope is that readers will:
- Enjoy stories and gain knowledge
- Relate to other cultures and points of view
- Support schools, libraries, and independent bookstores
With these goals in mind, we help local organizations with a back-to-school book drive every summer. It allows kids to pick out their own book (for free!) and get excited about reading.
Get Reading With Frostbeard
With the new year upon us, we’re beyond excited to dive into our 2018 to-be-read lists. Whether you’re planning on starting off your year with Dr. Seuss or any other classic children’s novel, we hope that you and the young reader in your life enjoy your time reading together. If you want to find the perfect accent piece to your literary lounging or pre-bed ritual, might we recommend one of our book themed candles or a piece of our bookish merch? They make for the ideal reading companion for any book lover, young or old. Happy reading!