WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to improve literacy, promote a lifelong love of books, and encourage children to explore a world of discovery and new ideas through reading, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are once again leading the national effort to designate March 2nd as “Read Across America Day.”  Reed and Collins are introducing a Senate resolution encouraging parents to read with their children and honoring beloved children’s author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, for his efforts to make reading fun for kids of all ages.  This year, the 22nd annual Read Across America Day coincides with what would have been Geisel’s 115th birthday.

A Read Across America ‘Read-A-Thon’ event will be held on Saturday, March 2 at the Warwick Mall, and will be one of many reading events taking place throughout Rhode Island and across the nation this week.  As Read Across America Day falls on a Saturday this year, many students and educators nationwide will celebrate a day earlier on Friday, March 1. 

“Literacy is the foundation of learning, and I’m proud to once again offer legislation highlighting the importance of reading for children’s development and academic success,” said Senator Reed.  “Each year, Read Across America Day also inspires adults to set a good example by picking up a book and helping instill a love of reading.”

Sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA), the first annual Read Across America Day celebration was held March 2, 1998, when organizers sought to facilitate “the largest celebration of reading this country has ever seen.”  That annual tradition will continue this year in cities and towns across the United States, with more than 45 million readers nationwide expected to participate at libraries, schools, hospitals, town halls, and houses of worship.  This year, the NEA has awarded 13 state affiliates with grants to conduct their own Read Across America Day celebrations.

Senator Reed has worked for years in support of child literacy initiatives.  He has championed dedicated federal funding for school libraries and the Every Student Succeeds Act, which has provided more than $210 million to support effective school library programs and help more children learn to read.  A senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Reed has successfully led efforts to provide resources to support libraries and other children’s literacy initiatives in annual appropriations laws.  Most recently, Senator Reed’s bipartisan legislation, the Museum and Library Services Act of 2018, which reauthorized funding to support public libraries, was signed into law in December 2018.