“You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child." So said Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. It is clever phrasing for such an important task. Reading to children is one of the best things we can do to help them get on and stay on a path to a good life.
Through third grade children are learning to read, after that they are reading to learn. That’s why we have to make sure kids develop a love of reading and learning, and if need be, get them assistance early on. United Way is recruiting and engaging volunteer readers, tutors and mentors to do just that.
For example, United Way and about 45 million volunteers, teachers and others will help make reading fun by participating in the National Education Association’s annual Read Across America program. Originally created as a one-day event to celebrate the joy of reading, Read Across America, now in its 17th year and sponsored by NEA and Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., has grown into a nationwide initiative that promotes reading every day. With Dr. Seuss’s March 2nd birthday falling on Sunday this year, the official Read Across America Day is celebrated today, March 3rd, enabling schools nationwide to participate in the reading fun.
United Way of Central Carolinas is celebrating Read Across America Day in Charlotte by partnering with IKEA and Scholastic to provide book nooks (book shelf, stools, rug, and pillows) and 50 books to different United Way-funded agencies. There will be a birthday party for Dr. Seuss in a new book nook at Child Care Resources, where IKEA volunteers will read Dr. Seuss books to children and everyone will enjoy a treat. This will be the eighth book nook United Way and IKEA have donated, with many more planned for the future.
United Way Silicon Valley will deploy about 120 volunteers to six partner schools where they will spend an hour reading to entire classrooms of elementary students. Depending on the school, each volunteer will visit one to three classes during that hour. It is an easy and fun way for volunteers to get engaged and spend the day just celebrating reading with local kids. It has also been a gateway in past years for getting more volunteers engaged in United Way school-focused volunteer events throughout the year. The “Cat in the Hat” will visit one of the schools and United Way volunteers will pass out ‘Cat in the Hat’ themed stickers, pencils, workbooks and bookmarks to all the students to add to the fun of the day. Last year volunteers from Texas Instruments, AT&T, the City of San Jose, Intel, Kaiser Permanente and others employers took a break from work to volunteer with United Way.
These are but two examples of United Way reading programs that take place on Read Across America and throughout the year. If you or your company want to get involved, take our pledge to become a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor, and contact your local United Way to learn how you can volunteer. And thank you. Reading to a child can make a difference today that will advance the common good for years to come. LIVE UNITED.