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With the power to provide knowledge, enact the imagination, improve mental abilities, enhance conversational skills and so much more, reading truly does hold a key to changing the lives of children and adults all over the world! 

National Reading Month is here to act as a reminder about the benefits of reading, from the youngest readers to older adults as well. Facilitating a love for reading certainly makes a difference – and this event is here to show support for the joyful and enlightening practice of reading.

History of National Reading Month

Written languages have been around for thousands of years, getting their start with squiggly lines made on clay tablets. As languages developed, literacy and reading was typically still only accessible for the wealthy, elite and highly educated among the masses. It wasn’t until more recent history that reading became available for the general public, evolving in Europe as part of the reform of the Enlightenment of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Since that time, reading and literacy has become an important factor related to the development of countries on various levels including social, governmental, scientific, economic and more. Reading is a vital part of improvement not only for the lives of individuals but also for the communities they live in.

National Reading Month has developed over time through the efforts of educators, librarians, parents, and just all around book-lovers who feel the desire to celebrate the superpower that reading offers! It is situated in the month of March as a nod to one of the world’s favorite children’s book authors, Dr. Seuss, whose birthday was on March 2,1904. During his career, Dr. Seuss made such important contributions to children’s education and reading that he received a Pulitzer Prize in 1984.

Schools, local libraries, community centers, families and so many other groups can find all sorts of ways of celebrating and promoting National Reading Month, making the world a better, more literate place!

How to Celebrate National Reading Month

Looking for fun and exciting ideas to get the whole family or entire classroom involved with National Reading Month? With thirty-one whole days to celebrate, it’s easy to make it a month of good reading habits! Get started with some of these ideas for getting involved:

Do Some Reading!

Of course, the best way to honor and show appreciation for National Reading Month is simply to pick up a book and start reading. This can be something from that stack of books on the nightstand, an old classic found on the bookshelf at home, an item borrowed from the local library or something new purchased at a bookstore. No matter what it is, from a favorite children’s book to a book to a book of poems and essays, from Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat to Leo Tolstoy’s epic War and Peace, it doesn’t really matter what is being read – it’s just important to start doing some reading.

Foster a Passion for Reading in Kids

When children are small, they often love to be read to from story books. While some parents might tire of the process of reading favorite stories over and over again, it is important to remember that this is an investment in the future of a child’s reading skills.

Consider some of these ideas to encourage that love of books and reading in younger children:

  • Choose books that the kids are interested in so they are more likely to listen and enjoy reading time.
  • Make reading fun by cuddling, using special voices, or even turning the stories into a little theater production.
  • Get creative with reading. Some kids might be more apt to enjoy reading graphic novels or even cookbooks.
  • Be a reading role model. Instead of just reading books to the kids, parents can be sure to model reading to them by having their own books around that they enjoy reading.

Head Over to the Library

One of the best resources for celebrating National Reading Day for absolutely free is to head over to the local library to check out some books. The stacks of books are usually available to anyone in the general public. And getting a card is typically fairly easy, is usually free, and allows the person to take a number of books home for a period of approximately two or three weeks. Some libraries allow children to have their own library cards (attached to their parents) which can be a way for kids to feel grown-up and responsible.

Families with younger children may find that community libraries are a great resource for reading groups and activities that fosters and promotes reading skills. This might be something as simple as a parent and child reading group for preschoolers, or access to tutoring and other resources for families who have older children.

Schools and universities also have libraries that can be accessed by students as a way to promote research, help with classes and also simply to encourage that lifelong love of reading.

Learn Some Literacy Benefits

In observance of National Reading Month, it might be a good idea to learn and share some interesting benefits that relate to reading. Though the past fifty years have brought a steady rise to literacy rates in the majority of places throughout the world, there’s still a portion of the population that remains illiterate. Consider some of these ways that reading is beneficial not only to individuals but also to community, society and culture:

  • Improved literacy rates are often followed by economic growth, providing villages and other communities with more opportunities for sustainable living.

  • Better literacy rates also are associated with lower crime rates, somewhat related to the fact that literacy improves employment opportunities which likely means less motivation to get money in illegal ways.

  • Places where literacy is high typically correlate with better education about and prevention of disease, illness and certain medical conditions.

  • Higher literacy rates can also be associated with improved civic involvement as well as the promotion of democratic government practices.

Also, be sure to check out National Book Lovers Day in August and National Read a Book Day, celebrated in September! 

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