WASHINGTON, DC - In an effort to improve children's reading skills and promote a lifelong love of reading, the U.S. Senate passed Senator Jack Reed’s (D-RI) annual legislation last night designating March 2, 2012 as the 15th annual “Read Across America Day.”  Reed's bipartisan resolution, cosponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), encourages parents and children to take part in a nationwide reading celebration and honors Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, for his success in making reading fun for kids.

“I am pleased to once again offer bipartisan legislation celebrating the joy and importance of reading.  Reading is vital to our children’s success.  Read Across America Day is a great opportunity for adults to set a good example for young people by sharing a favorite book and helping to instill a lifelong interest in reading,” said Reed.

Started in 1998, and sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA), Read Across America Day has become the nation’s largest reading celebration with more than 45 million readers nationwide participating at schools, libraries, hospitals, and community centers.

To celebrate Read Across America Day, NEA encourages events across the country to bring reading excitement to children of all ages.  To learn more about Read Across America events taking place throughout Rhode Island, go to: http://www.nea.org/readacross/

Senator Reed has long been a champion of child literacy initiatives.  Reed's Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program has provided over $160 million to help more children learn to read.  Despite attempts to zero out funding for school library programs last year, Senator Reed successfully led the effort to include $28.6 million in the fiscal year 2012 Appropriations law for such programs and other children’s literacy initiatives.  Reed also introduced the bipartisan Prescribe A Book Act with Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) to authorize a federal pediatric early literacy grant program based on the long-standing, successful Reach Out and Read program.  It would allow doctors and nurses to provide low-income parents with a children’s book to take home at every wellness visit along with advice about the importance of reading aloud to their child and age-appropriate reading tips.