Michigan Education Association


Millions will join NEA's Read Across America Day celebration on March 2

The First Lady and a host of film, television and sports personalities to kick off 14th annual Read Across America Day at Library of Congress

WASHINGTON-From Seussville to Who-ville and Oh, those many great places in between, the Cat in the Hat will help put reading on the map!  The 14th annual NEA Read Across America Day-the party with a purpose that gets kids of all ages excited about reading-is expected to draw more than 45 million participants on Wednesday, March 2. 

"NEA's Read Across America has become an annual tradition in schools and communities in every state across the country. What began as a few reading parties 14 years ago has grown into a huge national literacy event," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. "While we take a fun and lighthearted approach to our Read Across America celebrations, we do so with a serious purpose in mind: to encourage a love of reading. As educators, we know that children who read-and are read to-do better in school and in life."

NEA's Read Across America-sponsored by the 3.2 million-member National Education Association, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., Random House Children's Publishing and more than 50 national partnering organizations-promotes literacy year-round. But every year in March, around the time of Dr. Seuss' birthday, NEA hosts a major event designed to pay homage to the beloved children's book author and to get our nation's young people excited about reading.

NEA's 2011 Read Across America celebrity kick-off event is set for Wednesday, March 2, at the Library of Congress. Parenting magazine will be joining in the celebration. First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and a host of film, television and sports personalities will read to hundreds of local students.

The reading parties will continue as NEA again revs up its engines to put the "across" in Read Across America. This year's Cat-a-Van tour will bring the gift of reading to schoolchildren in Iowa and North Carolina and visit several of NEA's Priority Schools in those states. NEA's Priority Schools Campaign, the Association's flagship effort to help transform low-performing schools, encourages state and local affiliates, parents, community leaders, education advocates, policymakers, and businesses to work together to help students achieve.  In past years, Cat-a-Vans have toured from coast to coast, visiting schoolchildren from Florida to Washington, New York to Arizona, and all points in between.

In New York City, Target will host a reading takeover of Bryant Park and the New York Public Library and fill an enormous sculpture with books for the city's public school students and special guest readers. The event will showcase Target's support for NEA's Read Across America activities and promote Seuss readings in its stores around the country.

In Orlando, Fla., Universal Orlando Resort is hosting two elementary classes from a local school  to Seuss Landing in Universal's Islands of Adventure for a day of Seussian storytelling and celebrations. Universal Orlando's celebration of NEA's Read Across America and Dr. Seuss's birthday will feature a cast of favorite Seuss characters and VIP reader, Nick Anderson from the Orlando Magic. Other schoolchildren in the park that day will also be encouraged to participate in the program.

Across the country and around the world, deployed members of the military will don red-and-white stovepipe hats and read to their children and families. Thanks to Read Across America partner United Through Reading, the "Cat in the Hat" readings will be recorded, and the DVDs will be shipped to service members' loved ones back home.

The storybook fun continues in the Big Apple where thousands of educators will gather March 18-19 for the WNET Celebration of Teaching and Learning.

Since 1997, NEA's Read Across America has attracted some of the biggest names in politics, entertainment and sports to help children discover the joy of reading.  Past celebrity participants have included First Lady Michelle Obama, Carrie Underwood, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alex Rodriguez, Serena Williams, Selena Gomez, and Shaquille O'Neal and "NEA's Read Across America Day is a party with a purpose because it shows kids that reading can be fun," said Van Roekel. "NEA's Read Across America provides tools, resources and tips for parents and educators that make reading a fun and enjoyable experience so kids will keep turning pages." 

A complete media kit, photos, video footages and other Seuss-tastic downloads are available to the media at www.nea.org/readacross <http://www.nea.org/readacross> .  The website also offers reading tips, book lists and information on local events.

CONTACT: Celeste Busser - (202) 822-7823, cfbusser@nea.org