By Floyd Alvin Galloway
March 2 has evolved into a day the country marching toward literacy with Read Across America Day (RAAD). Across the United States millions individuals have visited schools in their area to read to students and promote literacy and teachers design special lessons and decorated classrooms to mark the special day.
Arizona is no different. Thousands have joined in on the literacy movement. One such event was organized by D.L. White, a contributor to the Arizona Informant and the author of a new children’s book, The Insatiable Letter S.
Gathering friends, family members and colleagues, White’s army of 26 volunteer’s participated in RAAD at seven schools, reading to over 825 students, in grades K-4. One group of volunteers, “Women of Color in the Judiciary,” had 15 volunteers, some dressed in their judge’s robe.
‘This was a great success,” said White. “In grades 5-8 we discussed school success, college and careers,” added White. Schools involved were Booker T. Washington Head Start, Cloves C. Campbell Sr. Elementary School, Maxine O. Bush Elementary, Bernard Black Elementary, Mary Bethune Elementary School, Capital Elementary, and Jorgensen Elementary. White donated several of his children book to the schools where his group volunteers to read.
The National Education Association (NEA), in 1997, pushed for a special day to celebrate reading throughout the United States. The popular idea morphed into the first Read Across America Day held on March 2, 1998. This nationwide observance coincides with the birthday of Dr Seuss (Geisel), an American writer best known writing children’s books. Some of his books include Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, and The Cat in the Hat. Geisel has become a controversial recently as his past work of racist drawings have been brought to light, depicting Blacks, Asians and other persons of color as stereotypical demeaning characters.
In previous years U.S presidents and an array of celebrities have been involved in RAAD. Advocates note every child should have books at home to read. Reading expands the mind and the imagination. Reading is FUNdamental and critical for success in life.