Join the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood (DEC), the National Education Association, and millions of readers of all ages across the country to celebrate the National Read Across America Day on Monday, March 2, 2020.
From Maryland’s Allegany to Washington counties, the DEC will commemorate the nation’s largest literacy project by hosting a statewide Read Across America Story Palooza. Assistant State Superintendent Steven R. Hicks will read to three, four and five year olds during two Facebook Live storytelling events on Monday, March 2 in Anne Arundel County at Community Christian Preschool and Wednesday, March 4 in Montgomery County at Takoma Park Child Development Center (both days at 10 a.m.).
Also on March 2 at 10 a.m., the Office of Child Care Director Jennifer Nizer will read to the three and four year olds at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Child Care Center in Baltimore City where she served as director for over 15 years. Other DEC leadership and team members will celebrate the value of reading by hosting over 35 reading events at family child care homes, child care centers, head start programs, libraries, and the Judy Center Early Learning Hubs throughout the state. The family child care homes and child care centers are all Maryland EXCELS participants.
“Our goal for the statewide events is to deliver the important message that reading aloud each day to children beginning from birth leads to stronger vocabularies and better early literacy skills,” said Hicks. “As part of Maryland’s family engagement initiatives, we also are reminding parents of the critical role they play in ensuring children’s early literacy success by reading or telling stories to their children each day.”
According to a 2019 Journal of Development and Behavioral Pediatrics study, parents who read one book to their children every day expose them to an estimated 78,000 words each year. Parents who read five books to their children every day, over the five years before kindergarten, expose them to 1.4 million more words.
When adults make time to read with kids, children get the message that reading is important. Find resources and activities to encourage early literacy, including recommended books, here. Help spread the critical message about early literacy by sharing photos of your reading events or reading sessions with a young child on Facebook or Twitter @MDEngageEarly.
For a full list of Maryland’s Read Across America Story Palooza reading events, by county, please visit the events page. Watch Steven Hicks’ Facebook Live storytelling events on Monday, March 2 and Wednesday, March 4 at 10 a.m.