4 Read Across America Day Activities for Your Classroom
The Classroom

4 Read Across America Day Activities for Your Classroom

Newsela Editorial
Feb 20, 2024

At Newsela, we think Read Across America Day is one of the best days of the year! Why? Because it’s a day to celebrate how important and fun reading is. And it’s a chance to explore all the different types of reading you can do, like diving into fictional worlds, exploring verse in poetry, or building background knowledge with nonfiction. 

But the best part is, you can celebrate all year long, not just on March 2. We’ve collected great ELA resources that help you stress the value of reading, explore timeless stories, and practice important literacy skills in the classroom:

4 Newsela ELA resources for National Read Across America Day

Use our collections of ELA resources for Read Across America Day to help expose your students to different types of fiction and nonfiction and practice important literacy skills that will help them become more engaged and stronger readers:

1. Reflect on what it means to be a reader

National Read Across America Day, also known as Dr. Seuss Day because it falls on his birthday, celebrated the joys and benefits of reading. Help your students think about their experiences as a reader with resources that focus on topics like:

  • Why making a habit of reading every day can be beneficial to our lives.

  • How scientists can prove ways that make reading easier and more enjoyable. 

  • Why reading without retaining information happens and how we can fix it.

2. Explore “Good Night Moon” and other stories that span generations

Children’s books aren’t just for babies and toddlers! Show your students how children’s books can connect people across generations with this selection from our ELA in the Real World collection:

  • Read an article about the 75th anniversary of “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown.

  • Discuss what keeps this book popular with children and adults alike after over 75 years in print.

  • Encourage students to create their own children’s books with both engaging text and eye-catching images or illustrations.

3. Help students discover why reading is important 

All teachers tell their students that reading is important, but we have proof! Use this text set to help students understand the importance of reading based on real-life stories and factual evidence:

  • Explore how practicing reading in a low-stakes setting (with furry friends!) can be helpful for shy or reluctant readers.

  • See why slow reading, rather than speed reading, is good for your brain.

  • Find out how reading and writing can help people heal, cope, and express themselves.

4. Teach specific texts and literacy skills on Read Across America Day

You don’t have to create brand new activities to celebrate Read Across America Day in your classroom. These text sets help you incorporate the fun of reading into lessons you may already be teaching:

Poetry by Emily Dickinson

Poetry and stories in verse often use figurative language to express abstract thoughts and ideas. Use Emily Dickinson’s poem “There is no frigate like a book” to teach students about this type of language and help them identify it in context. See if they can spot examples of:

  • Smilies

  • Metaphors

  • Personification

Paired texts: “Stuart the Lucky Library Cat” and seeing yourself in the world

Students may find it easier to connect with characters in fictional stories when they have shared backgrounds, beliefs, or physical characteristics. Use this paired text lesson to help students understand why diversity in books is so important:

  • Read “Stuart, the Lucky Library Cat” by Carole F. Stice about a cat who wants to read books about other cats that have ears like his.

  • Introduce the nonfiction selection about a teenage girl who worked on a project to expand diversity in children’s books.

  • Use the annotation feature in both selections to highlight areas of similarity between the fiction and nonfiction selections about diversity and representation in literature and why it matters.

Treat yourself with a poem this Read Across America Day

The most important thing to remember—and share with your students—on Read Across America Day is that reading is fun. It can unlock interesting worlds, introduce new ideas, and even make you laugh. And speaking of laughs, take time to enjoy our poem “Goodnight Newsela” in the style of “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown.

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