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HARRISBURG, PA (March 2, 2022) – The Pennsylvania State Education Association joins schools and communities across the nation to mark Read Across America Day, the year’s biggest celebration of reading.
It is a day to recognize that educators and support professionals play essential roles in encouraging young people to pick up great books and get reading.
“When we take time to read to children, they learn to make reading a part of their daily lives,” PSEA President Rich Askey said. “Every day, educators across Pennsylvania use books to introduce children to new worlds and new ways of thinking. Today we celebrate the gift of a great book.”
Reading just a little bit each day adds up over the course of time, benefitting kids as they grow.
Studies have shown that reading reduces stress, and that reading just 20 minutes a day adds up to reading 1.8 million words per year. It’s also the fastest way for children to grow their vocabulary. Children learn an estimated 4,000 to 12,000 words every year from reading.
Askey said educators strive to read their students books with characters of all races, genders, and backgrounds, with diverse cultural and life experiences.
“When we read to students, we want them to know that they are valued and welcome,” Askey said. “We want them to be able to see themselves in the books they read and to learn about the experiences of others. Readers who feel included, recognized, and a part of the world are engaged readers.”
Read Across America was launched in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA) to boost enthusiasm for reading and to encourage adults to spend more time reading with children. Today, it is a year-round program that focuses on motivating children and teens to read every day.
Throughout the year, NEA and PSEA share book recommendations and other resources to get students reading. This year has brought a strong focus on books, authors, and teaching resources that promote diversity and inclusion. You can learn more at www.ReadAcrossAmerica.org.
During the pandemic, Pennsylvania’s educators and support professionals continued to put a focus on reading, sending books home with students who had to quarantine and even reading to students in videos online. A recent poll showed parents of public school students appreciate all that educators have done in the face of these challenging circumstances.
According to a poll of public school parents from Hart Research Associates and Lake Research Partners, 78% of respondents believe that their students’ teachers were good or excellent, and 80% said teachers made an extra effort to help students during the pandemic.
“Our educators and support professionals are working harder than ever to ensure that students succeed,” Askey said. “That includes connecting kids with books that will help them discover their own voices and learn from the voices of others.”
An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 178,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.