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Read Across America Week Promotes the Joy of Reading

Mountain (DST)
Teacher reading a book to students sitting on the floor.

Elementary students across the United States, including at Bureau of Indian Education schools like Tohono O'odham, look forward to Read Across America Week each year. This year’s festivities take place March 2-6. What began in 1998 as a year-round program to celebrate reading as an essential and fun skill of modern life continues to showcase the power of literacy more than 25 years later.

The 2023 Long-Term Trend Assessment in reading from the U.S. Department of Education shows a sharp decline in the number of 13-year-old students who read for fun “almost every day” since the early 1990s. To combat the decline, Tohono O'odham High School holds fun activities during Read Across America Week each year to make literature and reading interesting and fun.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests the best way for a child to learn to read or master information is to read aloud to them. It recommends several ways to make reading together a rewarding and memorable experience:

  1. Choose a book or other reading material that matches the child’s age, interest and ability.
  2. Create a way for the child to participate to make it enjoyable, such as adding sounds or songs as you read aloud. 
  3. Make reading together part of a daily routine.
  4. Switch up the topics to expand their vocabulary.
  5. Ask questions and create a dialogue throughout the book to push storytelling beyond the page. 

Reading is essential to brain development and cognitive abilities, and the Bureau of Indian Education provides each student with a culturally relevant, high-quality education, including literary skills that will last a lifetime. This Read Across America Week, BIE staff encourage students to find their new passion in reading and hope families and guardians do the same.

An official website of the U.S. Department of the Interior

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